4 doctors weighed in:
How do you tell the difference between adjustment disorder and normal bereavement?
4 doctors weighed in

Dr. Glen Elliott
Pediatrics - Psychiatry
2 doctors agree
In brief: Impairment
Bereavement is a natural consequence of loss; it allows us to mourn that which we have lost and readjust our world view.
Although it makes us sad and may disrupt sleep and concentration for a time, it has a pretty predictable course. Adjustment disorder is a reaction to some sort of situation that causes disturbances in mood and/or behavioral that causes problems for the person and others.

In brief: Impairment
Bereavement is a natural consequence of loss; it allows us to mourn that which we have lost and readjust our world view.
Although it makes us sad and may disrupt sleep and concentration for a time, it has a pretty predictable course. Adjustment disorder is a reaction to some sort of situation that causes disturbances in mood and/or behavioral that causes problems for the person and others.
Dr. Glen Elliott
Dr. Glen Elliott
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Dr. Kevin Passer
Pediatrics - Psychiatry
In brief: Maladaption
The hallmark of an adjustment d/o is the maladaption.
This leads to depression, anxiety, behavior and conduct problems. Bereavement does not cause these problems to as severe of a degree.

In brief: Maladaption
The hallmark of an adjustment d/o is the maladaption.
This leads to depression, anxiety, behavior and conduct problems. Bereavement does not cause these problems to as severe of a degree.
Dr. Kevin Passer
Dr. Kevin Passer
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In brief: Depends...?
So, the rigid definition is.
..You don't. Basically, that's why we have psychiatrists. That is, doctors who are specifically trained to tell the difference between a problem, and a "not problem." or, so to speak, trouble, and a "normal life" event. The dsm is great...For research. But, human life is simply too subtle and nuanced to lend itself to any such neat and clean categories!

In brief: Depends...?
So, the rigid definition is.
..You don't. Basically, that's why we have psychiatrists. That is, doctors who are specifically trained to tell the difference between a problem, and a "not problem." or, so to speak, trouble, and a "normal life" event. The dsm is great...For research. But, human life is simply too subtle and nuanced to lend itself to any such neat and clean categories!
Dr. Bartholomew Vereb
Dr. Bartholomew Vereb
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