New treatment for extreme grief | Science News



Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.


New treatment for extreme grief

2:39pm, June 14, 2005

Severe grief may be a unique mental disorder, according to a new psychiatric study. People who exhibit prolonged, debilitating grief after a loved one's death often improve markedly upon receiving a novel type of psychotherapy that focuses on finding ways to adjust to the loss, says a team led by psychiatrist Katherine Shear of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Current psychiatric diagnoses don't include what these investigators refer to as complicated grief. In Shear's view, this condition becomes apparent 6 months or more after the death of a loved one. Symptoms consist of disbelief regarding the death, anger and bitterness over the death, intense yearning for the deceased, and intrusive thoughts about how the loved one died.

The researchers developed a form of psychotherapy for complicated grief that calls for repeatedly confronting one's negative reactions to a loss as well as identifying and working toward personal goals. This treatment offers better

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content