Past Issues

Grief-related Major Depression Associated with the Death of Pet

Joseph Kuo, Shih-Ku Lin

Background: Pathological grief might be induced by pet loss in some people
who may even suffer from major depression. We report two cases of individuals
who suffered from grief-related major depression due to pet death. Case Reports:
A 45-year-old male complained of severe depressive symptoms associated with
excessive guilt for three months after the death of his golden retriever which he
had raised for 12 years. He recovered three months later after receiving pharmacotherapy
and supportive psychotherapy. A 20-year-old female patient suffered from
severe depressive symptoms associated with repeated suicide attempts after the
death of her chipmunk which she had raised for three years. She was lost to followup
later due to poor insight. Conclusion: Although patients of pathological grief
associated with pet death are relatively rare, they did happen and need to be treated
optimally. Combined pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy might be needed for
those who suffer from grief-related major depression.
Key Word pet, grief, depression
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