In a classic 1961 article,1 Engel posed
the question “Is grief a disease?” After a consideration of the
typical characteristics of grief—the initial shock and disbelief in
response to an important loss followed by painful experiences of loss and
sadness, often with a sense of emptiness, hopelessness, and loss of interest
in usual activities, followed by the “work of mourning,” an often
prolonged phase of restitution and recovery—Engel concluded that “the
experience of uncomplicated grief also represents a manifest and gross departure
from the dynamic state considered representative of health and well being.”1(p20) Engel thus viewed grief as an appropriate
topic for clinical research.
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