One of the questions most frequently asked both by psychiatrists and patients is, how we can distinguish mental illnesses from normal movement of the mind. For example, you may experience deep grief after your loved one deceased. Is it true you are in the depressive state then? Do you need antidepressants? Another question is often suggested around antisocial activities. Some people frequently trick others for their egoistic benefits. They are sometimes called psychopaths. But are they mentally ill, or just evil persons?
Some patients are afraid before consulting a psychiatrist about they would be forced to change their mind. Some believe psychiatrists are good at modifying other persons’ personality. They can feel their natural emotion is disrespected if they are asked to take a mood stabilizer when they are angry.
Actually, we are not completely sure what is the absolute difference between normal emotions and psychiatric illnesses. We usually look at the two axes. The first is the intensity of the emotion, and the other is driven by our practical sense.
Thus, extreme emotions such as agony, rage, startle, and despair, are likely to be abnormal compared to usual feeling. The abnormality is a character of importance to suggest a disease, not limited to mental disorders but also to physical illnesses. But it is not true that every extreme emotion is harmful, nor should be treated. If you are asked to smile with taking pills immediately after experiencing a death of your lover, you will never accept the advice. Everyone will die, and death causes a grief necessarily. The goal of psychiatry is not to get rid of all griefs from our whole life.
The Atlantic: Is Grief a disease?
On the other hand, there are some types of grief to be properly treated. Most cases of clinical depression are suffering from excessive sadness, hopelessness, and guilt. They can avoid such a serious state using antidepressants. Some of the depressed patients have even delusions. Delusion regarding negativism is typical in depressive disorders, but some patients irrationally believe they are attacked by psychiatrists, families, or other people. Such psychotic depression is a state which needs an acute intervention.
If you are in the pool of grief two weeks after the death of your partner, how do you feel? And should you consult a psychiatrist? Generally speaking, the answer is partially yes, if you have an idea of suicide, self-guiltiness, or you cannot eat well.
American Psychiatric Association decided to alter the standard of diagnosis of depressive disorders. According to them, serious grief only two weeks after a critical event can be a component to be diagnosed as depression. I do not support this idea. But, if the person seeks help, he or she should be satisfied appropriately.
Grief is not a disease, as far as you can be tolerated.