Depression is as Old as Humans, But Evidence-Based Treatment is Recent

When you are experiencing depressive symptoms, it can often feel as if no one else understands what you are going through. However, the truth is that humans have been struggling with depression for thousands of years! If you are struggling with depression, you are not alone.

People were described to have depressive symptoms as early as the time of ancient Greece, under a syndrome called “melancholia”. The symptoms described then are many that we see today, including loss of appetite, excess sleeping, lack of motivation to go about daily tasks, constant weeping, chronic exhaustion, and a sense of helplessness.

Though symptoms were similar, treatments were very different back then, and all were non-evidence based and basically quackery! They included special diets, exercise, blood-letting, isolation and manual labor. In the early 1800s, therapies for depression included water immersion (keeping people under water for as long as possible without drowning them) and a special spinning stool meant to rearrange the contents of the brain into the correct positions. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, lobotomies (destroying the frontal part of the brain to “calm” a person down) were common but often unsuccessful and quite harmful.

Luckily, today we have a much better understanding of depression, and much safer treatments that have been proved to be clinically effective, including talk therapy, medications, and treatments like TMS, and all are based on randomized controlled clinical trials that provide high quality of effectiveness and safety, all of which has to be replicated by independent investigators in different labs.


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A Way to Check your Symptoms Online and Anonymously

If you think you may be suffering from depression, take this screening test. If you have above a 10, you should contact a clinician such as a psychiatrist:

https://www.mdcalc.com/phq-9-patient-health-questionnaire-9

Please Reach Out If You Need Help

If you’re looking for evaluation and treatment for depression, please feel free to be in touch anytime:

https://dignitybrainhealth.com/contact/


Sources

https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/historical-understandings-of-depression/

https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/the-history-of-depression/

https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm/history-of-the-dsm