Complicated Grief and Manic Comorbidity in the Aftermath of the Loss of a Son

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

Based on the recommendations of the sub-workgroup on trauma and dissociative disorders, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed the “bereavement exclusion” from the criteria for major depression in DSM-5. In addition, proposed DSM-5 research criteria for persistent complex bereavement disorder (PCBD) were included in the new manual in a section for conditions and criteria needing further research. We describe a case that warranted such a diagnosis. The patient was a 52- year-old woman who was admitted to the inpatient unit of our clinic on the birthday of her son who had died 18 months earlier. She was diagnosed with a manic episode with psychotic symptoms according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) criteria and was treated accordingly. Three months after discharge, she made a suicide attempt and was admitted and re-assessed. During this admission, she completed the Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG), the Mood-Spectrum Rating Scale (MOODS-SR), and the Trauma and Loss Spectrum questionnaire (TALS-SR). She endorsed symptoms of intense yearning for her son, feelings of shock and disbelief, anger and bitterness related to his death, estrangement from others, auditory, tactile and visual hallucinations of the deceased, and intense emotional reactivity to memories of her son. These symptoms were sufficiently prolonged and severe to meet criteria for complicated grief. While complicated grief appeared to be the primary diagnosis for this patient, when she was diagnosed using only DSMIV-TR criteria, her treatment failed to address herprimary problem. This case draws attention to the occurrence of manic-like symptoms as well as depression-like manifestations following bereavement and highlights the importance of including the syndrome of complicated grief in the diagnostic nomenclature. (Journal of Psychiatric Practice2013;19:419–428)

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles