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April 11, 2015
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This news item
supports a basic premise in this Web site - that
is one of five epidemic
spread by an unseen [wounds + unawareness]
that is passing down and weakening our families and generations. For more
perspective, see my comments after the article.
Links and hilights in this page are mine.
reading further, pause and reflect - why are you reading this? What do
you need? -
Peter Gerlach, MSW
+ + +
May 31, 2005 - PITTSBURGH -
In the months after David Golebiewski’s 19-year-old daughter was killed
in a car crash, grief consumed his life. He couldn’t go to the
restaurant where his daughter had worked, and he spent five hours a day
in Internet chat rooms with other parents who lost children.
Doctors say Golebiewski was suffering from “complicated grief” — a
condition some hope will soon be recognized by the American Psychiatric
the condition is
more severe than grief and different from depression, and affects as
many as 1 million people a year.
Dr. Katherine Shear, a psychiatry professor at the University of
Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said that with complicated grief, the
usual feelings of disbelief, loss and anguish do not go away, and
eventually affect every part of a person’s life.
Links to suicide, drug
and alcohol abuse
Left untreated, doctors say,
complicated grief can lead to depression,
suicide, drug and alcohol
abuse, even heart disease.
Dr. Holly Prigerson, director of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s
Center for Psycho-Oncology and Palliative Care Research and an associate
professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said the term
“complicated grief” has been used for about 10 years.
“Unlike a lot of disorders following bereavement, including depression,
it tends to persist for years and become a chronic distressed state — a
sort of frame of mind,” Prigerson said.
Researchers estimate that 10 percent to 15 percent of the surviving
relatives of people who die naturally experience complicated grief,
Prigerson said. She said people who lose someone they were emotionally
dependent on are at greatest risk.
She is working to get the disorder recognized in the American
Psychiatric Association’s next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders. The next DSM-V will be published in 2012.
'There really is
Dr. Michael First, a
Columbia University psychiatry professor and member of a committee that
will decide what goes into the DSM, said the panel will consider whether
complicated grief merits its own designation.
“From what I’ve seen so far, it’s certainly not an off-the-wall
suggestion,” First said. He said doctors see patients all the time,
especially the elderly, who never get over the death of a loved one.
Dr. Richard Glass, a psychiatry professor at the University of Chicago
and deputy editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association,
said studies have shown that people suffering from complicated grief do
not meet the criteria for depression or post-traumatic stress, although
some of the symptoms overlap.
“The evidence so far indicates that there really is something different
here,” Glass said.
The most recent study, published Tuesday in JAMA by Shear and her
colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh, examined different ways to
treat complicated grief.
Researchers found that 51 percent of patients treated with a therapy
developed just for the symptoms of complicated grief showed improvement.
So did 28 percent of complicated grief sufferers who underwent a
treatment commonly used for depression.
Golebiewski, 56, of North Fayette, was given the therapy for complicated
grief as part of the study. It included being tape-recorded while he
talked about his daughter’s life and death, then listening to those
recordings. He said after listening to the tapes repeatedly, he
developed ways of dealing with those feelings.
“I was able to visualize her again in life and as happy as she was and
the cheerful person that she was,” he said. “I was able to see her there
in that context.”
© 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This report seems to support
five basic premises in this nonprofit divorce-prevention site:
the normal human grieving response to
(broken bonds) - can be
slowed or blocked from running its
blocked ("complicated") grief can
promote serious effects like suicide and
(including food). A related symptom is obesity in adults and kids,
which is a growing epidemic in America and elsewhere. Some have
observed that "every
fat cell is an unshed tear."
the symptoms of
are similar to those of incomplete grief, inviting misdiagnosis and
mistreatment - e.g. inappropriate anti-depression medication;
blocked grief has not been recognized
yet as an "official" mental-health condition meriting inclusion in
DSM handbook compiled by the American Psychiatric
Association (APA). This suggests that many human-service
professionals and lay people are unaware of the condition and its
range and severity of its effects, its symptoms, and what to do about it.
I propose that...
This report doesn't suggest what causes "complicated grief"
in some people. From
years' clinical research, I propose that it
probably comes from (a) psychological
caused by a
early-childhood environment, (b) widespread ignorance of healthy-
grieving basics, and (c) a social environment
A misleading implication in this
news article is that treating the symptom of "complicated
grief" is justified, rather than diagnosing and reducing the
several primary causes of the condition. This risks reducing the local condition (in
the best case), and having symptoms of [psychological wounds +
- e.g. addictions.
This article also promotes the harmful illusion that grieving is
usually caused by the death of a loved person or pet, rather than the ending of
any intense emotional - spiritual bond.
The report doesn't comment on the
for healthy grieving, or what can hinder it.
The term "complicated" grief is
vague, and distracts from the real issue of incomplete
The author of this article promotes epidemic unawareness by using
the common phrase "dealing with ...feelings." A similar
vague phrase is "processing your feelings." More definitive
language is "fully feeling and safely expressing strong
emotions until they naturally subside."
in this site and the related
guidebook offer perspective, concepts,
and options for
provides similar resources for adults who
want to (a) learn "good-grief" basics, (b)
assess for and free up any
and (c) evolve a
family environment over time.
Are you living in a
pro-grief family? Are your kids and any grandkids? Do you know
someone for whom "grief doesn't go away"?
- Peter K.
Pause and recall why you read this. Did you get what you needed?
If not - what