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Depression - history of the disorder

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Main article: Clinical depression

History

The Ebers papyrus (ca 1550 BC) contains a short description of clinical depression. Though full of incantations and foul applications meant to turn away disease-causing demons and other superstition, it also evinces a long tradition of empirical practice and observation.

The modern idea of depression appears similar to the much older concept of melancholia. The name melancholia derives from 'black bile', one of the 'four humours' postulated by Galen.

Clinical depression was originally considered to be a chemical imbalance in transmitters in the brain, a theory based on observations made in the 1950s of the effects of reserpine and isoniazid in altering monoamine neurotransmitter levels and affecting depressive symptoms [1]. Since these suggestions, many other causes for clinical depression have been proposed.

See also

References & Bibliography

  1. Schildkraut, J.J. (1965). The catecholamine hypothesis of affective disorders: a review of supporting evidence. Am J Psychiatry 122 (5): 509-22.

Key texts

Books

Zilboorg G, Henry G W. (1941) A history of medical psychology. New York: W. W. Norton and Company,

Papers

  • Berrios GE. Melancholia and depression during the 19th century: a conceptual History. British Journal of Psychiatry 1998 Sep, 153: 298-304.

Additional material

Books

Papers

External links

History of medicine article on depression]

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