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The Clinical Definition of Depression May Change

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The Clinical Definition of Depression May Change

Science

The Clinical Definition of Depression May Change

The Clinical Definition of Depression May Change

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Several psychiatrists are considering changing guidelines that define depression, due to findings from a new study.

Michele Norris talks with Dr. Michael First of Columbia University about expanding the "bereavement exclusion" in the major handbook for psychiatrists.

Currently, patients experiencing symptoms of depression after the loss of a loved one aren't classified as clinically depressed because the symptoms are thought to be a normal, though temporary, reaction.

"Twenty-five percent of people who were diagnosed with major depressive disorder in the study," Dr. First says, "looked just like the people who we would consider to have normal grief."

Dr. First says that he and his colleagues think other life experiences, such as divorce and job loss, fit that same category.

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