Understanding Depression Essay

  • Length: 5 pages
  • Sources: 1+
  • Subject: Psychiatry
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #25909750

Excerpt from Essay :

Depression is a term that has multiple meanings. In an economic context, it can mean a continued, long-term decline in economic activity in one or several economies. Depression can also mean a landform that is depressed or sunken below the adjacent area. This definition is for geology and can be used to describe sinkholes. However, the focus of the meaning of the term depression will be examined through the psychological perspective. As defined in psychology, depression is a mood disorder causing an ongoing feeling of loss of interest and sadness. Depression can affect how one feels emotionally and physically, often requiring long-term treatment. This report aims to understand the word depression, its roots, and why it is being used today to categorize a mood disorder.

The word depression has been used for quite some time. When examined as a noun, is was first seen in the late 14th century from Old French and used as an astronomy term. It can also be directly derived from Latin in the form of depressionem. In the 1650's, the literal meaning of depression was 'dejection, depression of spirits' (Kipfer, 2008). By 1826, it was used to descrie reduced or lowered economic activity. It was around 1920 or 1934 that depression took on the meaning of melancholy, sadness, and began to be associated with a mood disorder (The Online Etymology Dictionary, 2017).

Regardless of its varied uses and changing meanings, depression has existed as how it is known now, for many years with philosophers describing depression as 'melancholia'. 'Melancholia' appeared as early as ancient Mesopotamia with written record detailing mental illnesses and its possible links to demonic possession. "This might refer to melancholia, a depression induced by a dominance of black-bile (mela/chole), at times manifested in an. .. a similar strategy of rationalization, though it largely appeals to Mesopotamian medical concepts, instead of Greek medicine" (Laes, 2017, p. 445). Although depression has most likely existed since humans could feel and socially interact, the earliest written records refer to such activity as 'demonic'.

Depression has been seen even in modern times as 'demonic'. Books like 25 Truths About Demons and Spiritual Warfare: Uncover the Hidden Effects of Demonic Influence by David Diga Hernandez talk of depression as work of demons and discusses Biblical references to demonic possession, linking these events to depression. People with depression are often shunned by society with many becoming homeless and/or poor. The Renaissance period brought reinforced notions that depression (melancholia) was due to a demonic activity and so purgatives were prescribed along with bloodletting.

During the age of Enlightenment, most of society believed depression was inherited and so went about locking and shunning those afflicted (Maines, 2001). If a woman was depressed, she may have been categorized into a different disorder altogether. During the late 19th century, depression took the form of 'hysteria'. Doctors often diagnosed women with depressive like moods with hysteria and provided them treatment in the form of orgasm.

When the vibrator emerged as an electromechanical medical instrument at the end of the nineteenth century, it evolved from previous massage technologies in response to demand from physicians for more rapid and efficient physical therapies, particularly for hysteria. Massage to orgasm of female patients was a staple of medical practice among some Western physicians from the time of Hippocrates until the 1920's . . . (Maines, 2001, p. 3).

The idea that depressive symptoms can be cured with orgasm may seem ludicrous in the present day. However, this was a common form of treatment for women experiencing hysteria. Examining the treatments of depressed individuals today, the aim is similar to the past treatments, relief. However, now the relief comes in the form of pills and talk therapy. Such relief allows people battling with depression to seek help not only because society has removed some of the stigma associated with depression, but also because the treatment options are less insane.

Insanity marks some of the meaning of depression. People associate those that are depressed as mentally ill. Earlier it was mentioned that depressed people were locked away during the 19th century and even in the 20th century. Although some people are institutionalized for chronic and manic depression, many suffer with depression and have been accepted despite their medical condition. Still, the…

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"Understanding Depression" (2017, June 12) Retrieved June 26, 2019, from

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"Understanding Depression", 12 June 2017, Accessed.26 June. 2019,