This work may not be copied, distributed, displayed, published, reproduced, transmitted, modified, posted, sold, licensed, or used for commercial purposes. By downloading this file, you are agreeing to the publisher’s Terms & Conditions.

Original Research

Treatment of Complicated Grief in Survivors of Suicide Loss: A HEAL Report

Sidney Zisook, MDa,b,†¡,*; M. Katherine Shear, MDc,d,†¡; Charles F. Reynolds, III, MDe,†¡; Naomi M. Simon, MD, MScf,g,†¡; Christine Mauro, PhDh; Natalia A. Skritskaya, PhDc; Barry Lebowitz, PhDa; Yuanjia Wang, PhDh; Ilanit Tal, PhDb; Danielle Glorioso, MSWa; Julie Loebach Wetherell, PhDa,b; Alana Iglewicz, MDa,b; Donald Robinaugh, PhDf; and Xin Qiu, MSh

Published: March 13, 2018

Article Abstract

Objective: Suffering associated with complicated grief (CG) is profound. Because suicide loss survivors are susceptible to developing CG, identifying effective treatments for suicide loss survivors with CG is a high priority. This report provides data on the acceptability and effectiveness of antidepressant medication and complicated grief therapy (CGT), a CG-targeted psychotherapy, for suicide loss survivors with CG identified by an Inventory of Complicated Grief score ≥ 30.

Methods: This is a secondary analysis of data collected from March 2010 to September 2014 for a 4-site, double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial comparing the effectiveness of antidepressant medication alone or in combination with CGT for participants with CG (score ≥ 30 on the Inventory of Complicated Grief) who were bereaved by suicide (SB; n = 58), accident/homicide (A/H; n = 74), or natural causes (NC; n = 263). Using mode of death as a grouping factor, we evaluated acceptability of treatments by comparing 12-week medication and 16-session CGT completion; we evaluated effectiveness by comparing response at week 20, defined by a score of 1 or 2 on the Complicated Grief Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale (CG-CGI-I), and additional secondary response measures.

Results: Among participants receiving medication alone, SB medication completion rates (36%) were lower than rates for A/H (54%) and NC (68%; χ2 = 11.76, P < .01). SB medication completion rates were much higher for SB individuals receiving CGT (82%; χ2 = 12.45, P < .001) than for SB individuals receiving medication alone. CGT completion rates were similar in the 3 groups (SB = 74%, A/H = 64%, NC = 77%; χ2 = 2.48, P = .29). For SB participants receiving CGT, CG-CGI-I response rates were substantial (64%), but lower compared to the other groups (A/H = 93%, NC = 84%; χ2 = 8.00, P < .05). However, on all other outcomes, changes from baseline for SB participants were comparable to those for A/H and NC participants, including number and severity of grief symptoms, suicidal ideation, and grief-related impairment, avoidance, and maladaptive beliefs.

Conclusions: These results raise concern about the acceptability of medication alone as a treatment for complicated grief in treatment-seeking suicide-bereaved adults. In contrast, CGT is an acceptable and promising treatment for suicide-bereaved individuals with complicated grief.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01179568

Volume: 79

Quick Links: Depression (MDD) , Suicide

Continue Reading…

Subscribe to read the entire article

$40.00

Buy this Article as a PDF

References

Sign-up to stay
up-to-date today!

SUBSCRIBE

Already registered? Sign In

Original Research

Telehealth of Coordinated Specialty Care in Early Psychosis During COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in 2020, access to in-person clinical care was restricted. This study explored...

Read More...