Complicated grief in patients with unipolar depression.
ABSTRACT The loss of a close family member (e.g. child or spouse) has been shown to be one of the most stressful life-events increasing the risk of affective disorders. In the present study, we investigated for the first time the frequency of complicated grief in psychiatric inpatients with unipolar depression. Further, the study was aimed to identify characteristics predicting a complicated grief reaction in depressed patients.
In a sample of 73 DSM-IV diagnosed unipolar affective disordered inpatients grief, depression, anxiety and psychological stress reaction were assessed.
A high prevalence of loss and impairing complicated grief was found in this sample of unipolar depressed patients. Depressed patients with complicated grief were more severely depressed than depressed patients without complicated grief reactions. Higher traumatic stress and close family membership of the lost person were associated with higher severity of grief.
Comorbid complicated grief appears to contribute to greater severity and poorer functioning in unipolar depressed patients and should be specifically addressed in psychotherapeutic treatment.