M. Katherine Shear, MD: Bereavement and Depression

August 12, 2022
Kenny Walter

Kenny Walter is an editor with HCPLive. Prior to joining MJH Life Sciences in 2019, he worked as a digital reporter covering nanotechnology, life sciences, material science and more with R&D Magazine. He graduated with a degree in journalism from Temple University in 2008 and began his career as a local reporter for a chain of weekly newspapers based on the Jersey shore. When not working, he enjoys going to the beach and enjoying the shore in the summer and watching North Carolina Tar Heel basketball in the winter.

Dr. Shear talked about the similarities and differences between depression and grief and the importance of recognizing both.

While grief is a part of life for most, losing a loved one, particularly if it is unexpected, can spiral an individual into a depressive state.

And the challenge for psychiatrists remains identifying whether someone is grieving or whether the patient is truly depressed.

In a presentation during the 2022 Annual Psychiatric Times™ World CME Conference in San Diego on August 12, M. Katherine Shear, MD, the Marion E. Kenworthy Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University and the founding Director of the Center for Complicated Grief at Columbia School of Social Work, discussed the connection between bereavement and depression.

The session centered on the similarities and differences between depression and grief and the importance of recognizing both.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Shear explained how important it is to discuss the connection between bereavement and depression.

“It’s been the source of a lot of controversy and also misunderstanding,” Shear said. “What’s most important is that we pay attention to both so we don’t try to say someone is not depressed because they are grieving and that grief doesn’t protect us against depression.”

The topic comes at a particularly interesting time as many more people have faced grieving situations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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