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M. Katherine Shear, MD: Bereavement and Depression

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.