The journey from melancholia to depression

The journey from melancholia to depression

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depression

We now know more about the human mind than we ever did before. This has enabled us to better address, if not cure its maladies. 

A recent Stanford study has identified six distinct types of depression using brain imaging and machine learning. The research aims to enhance the accuracy of treatments and reduce reliance on the traditional trial-and-error approach. By categorising depression into these specific types, the study seeks to tailor treatments more effectively to individual patients, potentially improving outcomes and efficiency in managing mental health issues. 

While depression has become more widespread and severe in modern times, have you ever wondered how the mental health condition was treated in ancient times? Not much is known about the prevalence of the disease in the distant past. However, there is sketchy evidence of its existence in medical literature. 

The first literary evidence of depression dates back to 4th century BC when Hippocrates proposed the theory that melancholia, as it was then called, was caused by an excess of black bile. Around AD 500, there was a shift from this physical explanation to the belief that mental disorders were manifestations of immorality, sin, and evil. In the 1500s, new perspectives on melancholia began to develop, leading to a gradual change in attitudes towards mental health. And with the birth of modern psychiatry in the 19th century, mental health finally began to be recognised in its own right. 

Ever since the understanding of this malady has continuously evolved. Numerous scientific researches, and treatments have aimed to get a grip on the disease. For, the human mind is too complex an entity to be fully grasped. More so, the modern human mind with its vast cognitive capacities. Unlike in the past, our minds don’t just experience the physical world, but a virtual one too. This has made us myriad-minded, not amenable to being easily figured out. At the same time, we now know more about our mind than we ever did before. This has enabled us to better address, if not cure its maladies. 

While medical science is getting closer and closer to addressing the causes of depression and reigning in the condition, it’s safe to say that the human mind will continue to both defy and respond to scientific investigations to comprehend and resolve its issues.

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