Sunday, November 15, 2009

Interview, Are We Medicating Normal Grief?

Source
In this informative interview with Open to Hope founders Drs. Heidi and Gloria Horsley, Dr. Richard Dew discusses the potential overuse of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication in grief. Speaking from his own experience not only as a physician but also as a bereaved parent himself, Dr. Dew notes that

• While the sorrow of grief is normal and to be expected, studies indicate that clinical depression is likely to occur in only 30-35% of bereaved parents; the other 70% will not experience the type of depression that calls for prescribed medication.

• Doctors should avoid prescribing antidepressants and anti-anxiety agents for newly bereaved parents, at least for the first 2-3 months following the death of a child. After that, if symptoms warrant it, a trial may be indicated – with the understanding that medication will not remove the grief; it only makes it more bearable.

• Studies show that 13% of those with a prior history of clinical depression will develop depression following the death of a child.

• Indications for antidepressant medication include inability to function and / or a history of depression prior to the death of a child.

• The newer antidepressant medications are far safer than their predecessors; they are neither addictive, nor lethal if taken as an overdose.

• Bereaved parents are wise to look for a counselor or therapist who is knowledgeable about and experienced in working with normal grief.

Listen to the entire interview here: Where Sadness Ends and Depression Begins

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