JOSEPH MERCOLA Grief is a highly individual experience, but for most people it takes two to six months to “run its course—and sometimes much longer, all of which is normal and to be expected in the face of a significant loss. Outrageously, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is now considering characterizing bereavement as a depressive disorder, which would encourage clinicians to diagnose people with major depression if their grief-related symptoms last longer than two weeks! By making grief a certifiable mental illness, it then becomes treatable by drugs and billable through insurance companies―and morphs into a “disorder” that is likely something that will stigmatize your health records for the rest of your life. Grief should be “normalized” not “medicalized” The APA’ s proposed classification, which is intended for inclusion in the association’s upcoming new diagnostic manual, DSM-5, will characterize bereavement as a major depressive disorder after only two weeks of grieving. Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)i, Richard Friedman, M.D., explains that the new version of the manual will label healthy people with a mental condition and make them prime candidates for unnecessary prescriptions of mind altering antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs. He notes that close to 2.5 million Americans die each year, and the number of those experiencing grief as a result is far higher. This is the market the pharmaceutical industry stands to gain, thanks to the APA flagrant disregard for common sense. Another “disease” created out of thin air The APA should be more aptly named the American Psychopharmacological Association, because they heavily rely on and promote drugs as the solution to most all mental illness. Worse yet, they work in tandem with the drug industry, “creating” more and more “psychiatric diseases,” which are appearing in the literature all the time. Mental illness symptoms within this manual are arbitrarily assigned by a subjective voting system by a psychiatric panel. So, they’re essentially making up diseases to fit the drugs—not the other way around. Writing a prescription is, of course, much faster than engaging in behavioral or lifestyle strategies, but it’s also a far more lucrative approach for the conventional model. Additionally, most practitioners have yet to accept the far more effective energetic psychological approaches. How big pharma drugs your kids Disease manufacturing doesn’t just impact adults … it also targets your kids. A new book — Born with a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks, and Hacks Pimp the Public Health — exposes the secrets drug companies use to sell their wares may have you seething once you know what Big Pharma does to influence the drugging of the most vulnerable human beings of all―your children. From schizophrenia to just being irritable (and a dozen behaviors in-between) there’s a pill for every pediatric patient alive. How can that be? Easy, says former pharmaceutical rep Gen Olsen in the featured article. “Children are forced by school personnel to take their drugs, they are forced by their parents to take their drugs, and they are forced by their doctors to take their drugs…In other words, they will be lifelong patients and repeat customers for Pharma.” The industry has no doubt been helped by federal and state laws that mandate universal mental health screening for all children from birth to ages 18 or 22. That means that, technically, kids can be diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder as early as a few days old and drugged, even if their parents don’t agree. The Vitamin D Connection Vitamin D deficiency is very common in teenagers with severe mental illness, which isn’t surprising since vitamin D is crucial for proper brain development and functioning. Any child (or adult, for that matter) who is experiencing emotional or mental symptoms should have their vitamin D levels tested and optimized as a standard of care. This could potentially alleviate the problem, as researchers noted “considerable psychiatric improvement that coincided with vitamin D treatment in some of the patients whose deficiency was treated.” Grief – When Should You Worry? Getting back to feelings of grief, generally speaking the emotional intensity of these feelings will naturally recede over time. Research has shown that long-term, “complicated grief” activates neurons in the reward centers of your brain, possibly giving it addiction-like properties. What this means is that for people suffering from complicated grief, thinking about a deceased loved one activates neural reward activity, which gives the person temporary pleasurable feelings but ultimately can interfere with their ability to heal, adapt and move forward in their life. If you’ve been dealing with debilitating feelings of grief that last for a year or more, professional help may be warranted, and you should also try the techniques I describe below. Drug-Free Options During the grieving process, be gentle with yourself and take steps to support positive mental health. Exercise is very helpful for this aspect. Other common stress reduction tools with a high success rate include prayer, meditation and yoga. The Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT, is another option. While it may not be a miracle cure in and of itself, it can be extremely difficult to achieve sound mental health without the proper foundation of a sound diet and exercise plan. You can have the best diet and exercise program possible but if you aren’t sleeping well your mental health can suffer and it is difficult to make healing progress. Remember, left untended, emotional trauma like losing a loved one can lead to serious health problems down the road, so if you’ve been dealing with debilitating feelings of grief that last for a year or more, professional help may be warranted.