Skip navigation
Considering a long-term form of grief as an official diagnosis

This is Science Today. A long-term form of grief called ‘complicated grief' is being considered for the scheduled 2012 publication of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-V, which the nation's psychologists and psychiatrists use for diagnosis. Mary-Frances O'Connor, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA's School of Medicine says for over a decade, there's been a real effort among researchers and clinicians to understand what complicated grief really is.

O'Connor:      It went through a lot of rigorous, empirical testing and certain symptoms really stood out as the ones that were problematic.

Narrator:        These set of symptoms, which occur in about 10 to 20 percent of people who have lost a close loved one, tend to occur for longer than six months and interfere with day-to-day functioning.

O'Connor:      While everyone finds losing someone distressing, this is what we might call prolonged or very pronounced grief and some of those symptoms may include excessive yearning for the deceased.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.