THE BEREAVEMENT EXCLUSION AND DSM-5
Article first published online: 11 APR 2012
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Depression and Anxiety
Volume 29, Issue 5, pages 425–443, May 2012
How to Cite
Zisook, S., Corruble, E., Duan, N., Iglewicz, A., Karam, E. G., Lanuoette, N., Lebowitz, B., Pies, R., Reynolds, C., Seay, K., Katherine Shear, M., Simon, N. and Young, I. T. (2012), THE BEREAVEMENT EXCLUSION AND DSM-5. Depress. Anxiety, 29: 425–443. doi: 10.1002/da.21927
- Issue published online: 2 MAY 2012
- Article first published online: 11 APR 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 28 JAN 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 24 JAN 2012
- Manuscript Received: 3 OCT 2011
Erratum: THE BEREAVEMENT EXCLUSION AND DSM-5
Vol. 29, Issue 7, 665, Article first published online: 2 JUL 2012
- major depressive disorder;
- psychiatric diagnosis;
Pre-DSM-III (where DSM is Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), a series of studies demonstrated that major depressive syndromes were common after bereavement and that these syndromes often were transient, not requiring treatment. Largely on the basis of these studies, a decision was made to exclude the diagnosis of a major depressive episode (MDE) if symptoms could be “better accounted for by bereavement than by MDE” unless symptoms were severe and very impairing. Thus, since the publication of DSM-III in 1980, the official position of American Psychiatry has been that recent bereavement may be an exclusion criterion for the diagnosis of an MDE. This review article attempts to answer the question, “Does the best available research favor continuing the ‘bereavement exclusion’ (BE) in DSM-5?” We have previously discussed the proposal by the DSM-5 Mood Disorders Work Group to remove the BE from DSM-5.
Prior reviews have evaluated the validity of the BE based on studies published through 2006. The current review adds research studies published since 2006 and critically examines arguments for and against retaining the BE in DSM-5.
The preponderance of data suggests that bereavement-related depression is not different from MDE that presents in any other context; it is equally genetically influenced, most likely to occur in individuals with past personal and family histories of MDE, has similar personality characteristics and patterns of comorbidity, is as likely to be chronic and/or recurrent, and responds to antidepressant medications.
We conclude that the BE should not be retained in DSM-5.