Antidepressants to Treat Grief? Psychiatry Panelists With Ties to Drug Industry Say Yes

Washington Post (12/26/12) Whoriskey, Peter
The American Psychiatric Association's (APA) official handbook of psychiatry has long advised against diagnosing major depression when the distress is the result of bereavement, but this might be changing as the APA voted this month to drop that warning. The change opens the way for more individuals grieving the death of a loved one to be diagnosed with major depression and treated with antidepressants. The change in the handbook was developed in large part by people associated with the pharmaceutical industry, according to financial disclosures, which showed that the financial ties between the creators of the handbook and the pharmaceutical industry far exceeded the limits recommended in 2009 by the Institute of Medicine. APA Chief Executive James H. Scully Jr. noted that many knowledgeable psychiatrists would be not be able to take part in university studies funded by pharmaceutical companies if no financial ties were permitted, while critics argued that such ties could put public health at risk.

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