History Of Depression Essay

1813 words - 7 pages

History of Depression

Depressive illness has been known since biblical times. The word depression comes from the Latin word deprimere (to press down). Thus it means feeling pressed down, sad or low. In the late Middle Ages, religious leaders believed depression was caused by posession of evil spirits. The German religious reformer Martin Luther wrote "All heaviness of the mind and melancholy comes of the Devil." Through the years depression has been treated with such remedies as whipping, bloodletting, exorcism and soothing baths. By the 1960s, antidepressant medications were discovered that relieved depression by correcting chemical imbalances in the brain and because of that many scientists started to believe that depression was caused by neurochemical imbalances rather than psychological traumas. It has never been proven what really causes depression, the modern belief is in the combination of both causes. Until 1980s, psychiatrists did not believe that children and teenagers could suffer from depression. They thought that true depression can not exist before person develops idealized self-image (called the supergo), but tests and surveys have shown otherwise, that also strengthens the chemical theory

It is very important to distinguish depression from normal state of feeling sad. Sad mood can be instantly relieved by something good or exciting happening while a truly depressed person could be given a free car of his/her choice and still feel sad. As you read above, depression means long and hopeless sadness. If depression grows untreated, sufferers feel more and more hopeless and helpless, they feel as there's no one or nothing that can help them to be happy again, they believe that things will only get worse, never better. In some really severe cases depressants find that any ordinary activity such as getting out of bed, eating or even talking requires enormous energy. Eventually, these individuals have no desire to do anything, neither fun activities they used to enjoy, nor being with people they care about, this leads to not functioning at all. They stay in bed or sit in a chair all day, staring at the walls.

To be diagnosed as having a depressive illness, you must have
experienced for at least two weeks, at least four of the following symptoms:
1. loss of energy.
2. poor appetite or significant weight loss.
(for no obvious reason like diet, sport or sauna) or increased appetite or significant weight gain.
3. insomnia or excessive sleeping.
4. psychomotor agitation or retardation (slowness).
5. loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, or decrease in sexual drive.
6. feeling of worthlessness, self-reproach, or excessive or inappropriate guilt.
7. diminished abbility to think or concentrate, such as slowed thinking, or indecisiveness
(unable to make simple decisions, such as what to wear to school or eat for breakfast).
8. recurrent thoughts...

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