Does bereavement induce major depressive disorder (clinical depression)?

Updated: Mar 28, 2019
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

DSM-5 further notes the importance of distinguishing between normal sadness and grief from a major depressive disorder. While bereavement can induce great suffering, it does not typically induce a major depressive disorder. When the two exist concurrently, the symptoms and functional impairment is more severe and the prognosis is worse compared to bereavement alone. When major depressive disorder is most likely to be induced by bereavement in persons with other vulnerabilities to depressive disorders. A diagnosis of major depressive disorder following a significant loss requires clinical judgement based on the individuals history and the cultural context for expression of grief.


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