How Therapy For Depression Has Changed Over The Years

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The World Health Organization reports that over 300M people around the globe and across all ages suffer from depression. Of this staggering amount, far fewer than half get any treatment for such a disorder.

 

While this percentage still seems small, more and more people are getting professional help each day. Treatment for depression has radically changed since depression was even first discovered to be an actual issue.

 

In this article, let’s explore what exactly has changed in the world of depression and treatment. Despite some stigma still existing today, you’ll be glad you didn’t live in the past.

 

Ancient Era

During ancient times, people would attribute mental illness as a spiritual problem. People cited evil spirits and demons as causes of depression. Because of this, they would go to religious leaders for help. Treatment came in the form of starvation, physical restraint, and even severe beatings. This treatment was prevalent in Chinese and Egyptian cultures.

 

As for the Greeks, people credit Hippocrates, father of medicine, to be the first to come up with a somewhat formal idea about depression. Called melancholia during their time, he believed that an imbalance of body fluids or “humors” was responsible for depression. Melancholia was specifically caused by too much black bile from the spleen. Treatment was diet, exercise, and bloodletting.

 

Roman philosopher Cicero would later theorize that the cause of depression was psychological issues such as grief, fear, and anger.

 

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Common Era

During the Common Era (or equivalently, anno Domini), many people still believed that beatings and starvation should cure mental illness. One doctor, however, stood out. Persian physician and philosopher Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi or Rhazes would see mental illness differently. He believed that the brain had something to do with depression. The philosopher also believed in providing rewards for good behavior – an early form of behavioral therapy.

 

17th Century

In 1621, Robert Burton published a book entitled “The Anatomy of Melancholy.” In this book, the English scholar described social and psychological reasons behind melancholy. These reasons included fear, poverty, and social isolation, which was the further work on the earlier theory of philosopher Cicero.

 

18th Century: The Age Of Enlightenment

Despite its name, many people continued to misunderstand mental illness during the Age of Enlightenment. For ordinary folk, they said this as something that people should be locked up for. Thus, those who suffered from depression were often isolated from society and did not receive the care they needed.

 

In the latter part of this era, other doctors tried to come up with alternative theories. Some sought out physical causes of depression. Others philosophized that internal conflict was to blame as people struggled between what they wanted and what they knew was right.

 

19th Century

During the 19th century, there was a breakthrough in mental health. Emil Kraepelin, a German psychiatrist, distinguished the difference between manic depression and schizophrenia. He stated that there was a genetic basis for depression and much needed medical attention.

 

It was also around this time that psychoanalysis was starting to develop with the studies of Sigmund Freud.

 

20th Century

During the 1900s, Sigmund Freud would continue to hone his theory of psychoanalysis. This theory would include developing hypotheses and studies on depression. He would write about depression being a response to some form of loss. This loss would be either physical, like a death in the family, or symbolic, like not being able to achieve a goal.

 

However, the medical world would not immediately accept Freud’s theory. Many still saw depression as a physical disorder of the brain. Many patients went in for lobotomies and electroconvulsive therapy. Lobotomies meant to calm patients down by destroying the frontal portion of the brain. The man who started the procedure, Antonio Egas Moniz, even won a Nobel Prize for this.

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

Summary And Latest Developments

Today, many doctors have now come to see mental illness far differently from before. It is no longer seen as a spiritual problem caused by demons and spirits – at least in the medical field. Depression is now understood to be the leading cause of ill health.

 

Many psychiatrists are now equipped with updated knowledge of different treatment methods. Therapists are also trained individuals who can provide people with treatment such as talk therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and even medication.

 

The only obstacle left between people and treatment is social stigma. We now have many proven methods that help with depression. We need only stand up and take control of our lives by taking the first step towards therapy.

 

 

 

Marie Miguel

Professional Experience Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade; covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com/advice. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to target subjects related to anxiety and depression specifically. As an editor, contributor, and writer for over 100 online publications Marie has covered topics related to depression, anxiety, stress, grief, various phobias, and difficult family circumstances. With regular content published on mental health authorities like TheMighty, Yahoo, GoodMenProject, ADAA, CCPA-ACCP, Silverts, AMHCA, etc... Marie has shown both her passion and dedication to discussing & educating topics related to mental health and wellness. With an understanding that there is never too much information and helpful research about mental health in all of its forms, she continues to look for new and creative ways to both start discussions & engage with others about these important topics. Before becoming an online researcher and writer, she worked as an Administrative Executive with different industries namely telecom, security workforce providers, trading companies, exclusive hotel and concierge services. After ten years of working in different industries, she decided to enter the world of freelancing in able to give more time to her precious daughter. Given this opportunity, it helped her discover and realize that she is both capable and passionate about expressing her opinions in creative and influential ways via writing. Education Marie Miguel is a loyalty awardee of St. Paul College where she spent her primary and secondary education. She holds a degree of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major in Computer Applications from De La Salle University - College of St. Benilde where she was also on the Dean's List for consecutive semesters during her college years. "My Philosophy on Mental Health & Wellness" It takes passion for being an expert researcher and writer of mental health related topics. Having lived through traumatic experiences in the past, it has become easier to express my opinions and findings I've discovered while researching a variety of situations and subjects. I aim to inspire every person that reads mental health & wellness related articles to provide hope in every struggle; just as my experiences have taught me. Additionally, I strive to contribute to the continual progression of mental health awareness by providing helpful information and significant resources to understand further the importance of keeping a healthy mind and well-being.