Sunday, January 9, 2011

Depression in History

Depression has existed for thousands of year, perhaps from the time our ancestors first stood on two legs.

The earliest descriptions of depression that have come down to us may be those found in ancient Egyptian writings and later in the work of the inspired Greek physician, Hippocrates.

Egyptian understood that sleep disturbances add to the burden of depression and activity counteracts the inertia of depression.

The Egyptians saw that depression was serious, Their solution was dance, diet and travel.

Hippocrates suggested than an imbalance on the four humours and an excess of black bile predisposed people to melancholy. He also believed that such as imbalance could be induced by trauma.

In the Renaissance tradition, Saturn was the god of depression. Ancient astrologers imagined Saturn as the most remote planet, far out in cold and empty space and alchemists used Saturn as the symbol for lead.

Eighteenth century French physician Philippe Pinel saw that depression as the result of social and psychological stresses, heredity and physiological factors.

The idea that depression was a disease was also present in the Arab civilizations that developed in North Africa, Spain and the Middle East in the wake of the spread of Islam.
Depression in History
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