The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has approved the inclusion of prolonged grief disorder in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), subject to approval by the Assembly, at its virtual October meeting. Criteria for prolonged grief disorder were finalized later in 2019 and approved by the DSM Steering Committee this past January. They were posted for public comment in the spring and approved by the steering committee in August. Prolonged grief disorder was included in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) since the 11th version of the document was released on May 25, 2019.
Prolonged grief disorder is defined as a disturbance in which, following the death of a partner, parent, child, or other person close to the bereaved, there is persistent and pervasive grief response (of six months or longer) characterized by longing for the deceased or persistent preoccupation with the deceased. This longing or preoccupation is accompanied by intense emotional pain (e.g. sadness, guilt, anger, denial, blame, difficulty accepting the death, feeling one has lost a part of one’s self, an inability to experience positive mood, emotional numbness, difficulty in engaging with social or other activities).
DSM-5 included a category of persistent complex bereavement disorder (PCBD) as a “Condition for Further Study” in Section III of the manual. In 2018 a proposal was submitted to include the category in the main text of the manual, which underwent review by the DSM Steering Committee and the Review Committee on Internalizing Disorders. In June 2019 a workshop was held in New York City to develop consensus around appropriate criteria for the diagnosis.
The proposal is posted online at https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm/proposed-changes (accessed November 19, 2020).
This was reported by Psychiatry Online on October 28, 2020.
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