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A Metaphysics of Psychopathology$
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Peter Zachar

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027045

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027045.001.0001

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Can Grief Really Be a Disorder?

Can Grief Really Be a Disorder?

Chapter:
10 (p.157) Can Grief Really Be a Disorder?
Source:
A Metaphysics of Psychopathology
Author(s):

Peter Zachar

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262027045.003.0010

This chapter explores the debate about eliminating the bereavement exclusion in the DSM-5. The public side of the debate (should grief be classified as a mental disorder?) was largely about the proper place of scientific and psychiatric authority in society. The academic side of the debate (should depressive symptoms that occur between two and eight weeks after the death of a loved one be considered a psychiatric disorder?) was about what is to be counted as a real disorder. The philosophical work of the chapter contrasts the de facto essentialism adopted in much of psychiatry with the more empiricist imperfect community model. From the de facto essentialist perspective, the debate was about how to distinguish a simulacrum of depression that occurs after bereavement from a true depression. From the perspective of the imperfect community model, the debate was about whether some depressions should be normalized.

Keywords:   Depression, Bereavement, Essentialism, Reality, imperfect community

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