Monday, July 28, 2008

Scanning Grief

Newsweek has an interesting article on grief and brain research, where they stuck grieving people into functional MRI machines.

So they found that when grieving people think about the dead, they experience both pleasure and pain. That's actually a familiar paradox, rather than much of a discovery.

Somebody sensationalized it like this: They're addicted to the pleasure of remembering the dead!

Eventually, everything enjoyable turns out to be an addiction. I, for example, am addicted to breathing.

The psychiatrists seem to be working on a DSM entry for cases where grief is an enduring problem. They want to call their new diagnosis "complicated grief." With a diagnosis like that, it'll be easier to get the insurance companies to pay for treatment.

But I do wonder what's left in "simple grief".

Grief without complication,
with speedy recuperation,
without need for fond recall,
is barely grief at all.

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