Combination therapy is to help avoiding of post-traumatic stress

Sadness and feelings of loss are normal parts of the grieving process, but for some people the death of a loved one triggers a phenomenon dubbed complicated grief, which resembles both major &to=http:// ' target=_blank>depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Because existing treatments haven't worked for people with complicated grief, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers have developed a promising technique that combines interpersonal depression treatment with PTSD treatment.

The good news: The &to=http:// ' target=_blank>combination therapy had a 51 percent response rate compared with 28 percent for standard depression treatment, tells the Forbes.

According to the Washington Post, researchers estimate that 10 percent to 15 percent of the surviving relatives of people who die naturally experience complicated grief, Prigerson said. She said people who lose someone they were emotionally dependent on are at greatest risk.

She is working to get the disorder recognized in the American Psychiatric Association's next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The next DSM-V will be published in 2012.

Dr. Michael First, a Columbia University psychiatry professor and member of a committee that will decide what goes into the DSM, said the panel will consider whether complicated grief merits its own designation.

"From what I've seen so far, it's certainly not an off-the-wall suggestion," First said. He said doctors see patients all the time, especially the elderly, who never get over the death of a loved one.

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