12,000

We have over 12,000 students, from over 100 countries, within one of the safest campuses in the UK

93%

93% of Lancaster students go into work or further study within six months of graduating

Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Is ‘normal grief’ a mental disorder?
View graph of relations

« Back

Is ‘normal grief’ a mental disorder?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2000
<mark>Journal</mark>The Philosophical Quarterly
Issue200
Volume50
Number of pages15
Pages290-304
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

I argue that grief (including ‘normal grief’) is a mental disorder. I discuss the main concepts involved briefly, and state the prima facie case in favour of the view that grief is a disorder. I consider objections that grief is not a disorder because (a) it is a normal response; (b) it is more healthy than failing to grieve; (c) it involves cognitive good; (d) it is a rational response; (e) it ought not to be medicalized or treated; (f ) it has a ‘distinct sustaining cause’. Each objection is flawed, and I conclude that there is a strong case for regarding even ‘normal’ grief as a disorder. Alternatively, the arguments in this paper may be taken as attacking ‘orthodoxrsquo; definitions of mental health (e.g., in DSM 4th edn) by providing an extended discussion of one particular counter-example.