Mary and her two adult siblings are very concerned about their Dad. Since their Mom died suddenly after a brief illness, two months ago, their 55 year old father hasn’t been himself. He manages to get to work, but has been forgetful and irritable, and rejects most of the family’s frequent invitations to join them for dinner. He is unusually quiet and seems to want to be alone most of the time. The siblings consult a social worker in private practice for help. To best assist them, she first:
A) Asks them to brainstorm ways of engaging him in family activities.
B) Suggests that they each try to speak with him privately to try to learn more about how he is feeling.
C) Recommends that they encourage their father to seek some help for his symptoms.
D) Offers information about normal grieving to help them assess whether their father is acting within an expectable pattern of loss.
The correct answer is "D".
Explanation: The symptoms of accompanying a loss of a loved one should be carefully assessed to identify where the person might fall between an “Normal Bereavement” and ‘Major Depression Disorder”. DSM-5 allows the diagnosis of “Major Depression” to be considered. This is a change from DSM-IV which made an exception in cases of a grief reaction, and disallowed it.