Are your emotional responses normal or abnormal?

Report examines the difference between normal and abnormal emotion in how we diagnose depression

From  Emotion Review

We all feel emotion, we all get upset, can feel low, angry and overjoyed, but when do these emotional responses become something of a medical concern? When are these feelings inappropriate, too intense, or lasting too long? When is the emotional state you are in classed as depression? In light of the 5th revision of the influential Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM- 5), where a person can now be diagnosed as undergoing a “major depressive episode” if showing depressive symptoms for more than two weeks after bereavement, leading researchers in this special section  to argue that we need to take a different approach to diagnosis and that how we define “normal” emotion should be used to inform clinical practice.

The DSM- 5 specifies that the clinician should exert judgment when diagnosing depression after bereavement but the continuum between what emotional state is normal and what is abnormal makes the process difficult, especially in the absence of agreed upon criteria. “Over the millennia scientists from many different disciplines have struggled with the issue of defining what is normal and what is abnormal or pathological with respect to human bodily or mental states and human behaviour”, Klaus Scherer and Marc Mehu of the Swiss Center of Affective Sciences commented


Link to table of contents

Read the introduction to the special section

Article details
Special Section: Normal and Abnormal Emotions—The Quandary of Diagnosing Affective Disorder: Klaus R. Scherer and Marc Mehu
Normal and Abnormal Emotions—The Quandary of Diagnosing Affective Disorder: Introduction and Overview
Emotion Review July 2015 7: 201-203, first published on April 10, 2015 doi:10.1177/1754073915576689




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