Bibliography: Histories of Depression

In response to the recent finding that antidepressants are the most prescribed drug in the U.S., and that Canada leads the industrialized world in marijuana use, we decided to delve more deeply into some of the history describing why that might be. (It seems likely that a whole lot of people feel powerless to prevent whatever it is that’s about to happen.)

Our latest historical bibliography, on “The Histories of Depression,” is below.

Depression bibliography.

  • Alliez, J. & Huber, J.-P. (1987). L’acédie ou le déprimé entre le péché et la maladie. / Acedia, or the depressed individual caught between sin and mental illness. Annales Médico-Psychologiques, 145(5), 393-408.
  • Angst, J. (1994). The history and concept of recurrent brief depression. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 244(4), 171-173.
  • Arfouilloux, J.-C. (2000). Le divan mélancolique. / The melancolic couch. Revue Française de Psychanalyse, 64(5), 1643-1648.
  • Berrios, G. E. & Olivares, J. M. (1995). The anhedonias: A conceptual history. History of Psychiatry, 6(24, Pt4), 453-470.
  • Berrios, G. E. (1991). Affective disorders in old age: A conceptual history. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 6(6), 337-346.
  • Berrios, G. E. (1988). Melancholia and depression during the 19th century: A conceptual history. British Journal of Psychiatry, 153, 298-304.
  • Contreras Mas, A. (2003). Libro de la melancholia by Andrés Velazquez (1585). Part 1. The intellectual origins of the book. History of Psychiatry, 14(53 Pt1), 25-40.
  • Contreras Mas, A. (2003). Libro de la Melancholia by Andres Velazquez (1585). Part 2. Its context and importance. History of Psychiatry, 14(53, Pt2), 179-193.
  • Craun, M. (2005). The Story of Margery Kempe. Psychiatric Services, 56(6), 655-656.
  • Daly, R. W. (2007). Before depression: The medieval vice and acedia. Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, 70(1), 30-51.
  • Davidson, J. R. T., Connor, K. M., & Swartz, M. (2006). Mental illness in U.S. presidents between 1776 and 1974: A review of biographical sources. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 194(1), 47-51.
  • Dozois, D. J. A. (2000). Influences on Freud’s Mourning and Melancholia and its contextual validity. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 20(2), 167-195.
  • Elferink, J. G. R. (1999). Mental disorder among the Incas in ancient Peru. History of Psychiatry, 10(39, Pt3), 303-318.
  • Endicott, J. (2000). History, evolution, and diagnosis of premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 61(Suppl 12), 5-8.
  • Evans, K. M. (2007). ‘Interrupted by fits of weeping’: Cicero’s Major Depressive Disorder and the death of Tullia. History of Psychiatry, 18(1), 81-102.
  • Eyers, K. & Parker, G. (2006). Waggish excerpts from ‘Tracking the Black Dog’. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 114(6), 446-447.
  • Fedida, P. (1974-1975). Depression and melancholy: Remarks concerning the foundations of a psychopathology. Bulletin de Psychologie, 28(13-15), 678-683.
  • Freeman, H. L. (1994). Historical and nosological aspects of dysthymia. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 89(383, Suppl), 7-11.
  • Gaupp, R., Berrios, G. E., & Pomarol-Clotet, E. (2000). Depressive states in old age. History of Psychiatry, 11(42, Pt2), 213-225. (Original work published 1905.)
  • Gerdtz, J. (1994). Mental illness and the Roman physician: The legacy of Soranus of Ephesus. Hospital & Community Psychiatry, 45(5), 485-487.
  • Glangeaud-Freudenthal, N. M.-C. (2003). Channi Kumar and the History of the Marcé Society. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 6(Suppl2), s79-s82.
  • Himmelhoch, J., Levine, J., & Gershon, S. (2001). Historical overview of the relationship between anxiety disorders and affective disorders. Depression and Anxiety, 14(2), 53-66.
  • Jackson, S. W. (1983). Melancholia and partial insanity. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 19(2), 173-184.
  • Kotsopoulos, S. (1986). Aretaeus the Cappadocian on mental illness. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 27(2), 171-179.
  • May, U. & Slotkin, P. (2001). Abraham’s discovery of the ‘bad mother’: A contribution to the history of depression. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82(2), 283-305.
  • Paykel, E. S. (1994). Historical overview of outcome of depression. British Journal of Psychiatry, 165(Suppl 26), 6-8.
  • Powles, W. E. & Alexander, M. G. (1987). Was Queen Victoria depressed? I. Natural history and differential diagnosis of presenting problem. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 32(1), 14-19.
  • Pull, C. & Pichot, P. (1975). On the concept of involutional melancholia: An historical study. Annales Médico-Psychologiques, 2(3), 571-582.
  • Radden, J. (2004). Melancholia in the Writing of a Sixteenth-Century Spanish Nun. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 12(5), 293-297.
  • Rousseau, G. (2000). Depression’s forgotten genealogy: Notes towards a history of depression. History of Psychiatry, 11(41, Pt1), 71-106.
  • Steen, M. (1991). Historical perspectives on women and mental illness and prevention of depression in women, using a feminist framework. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 12(4), 359-374.
  • Sugar, M. (2006). How the Battle of Hastings was lost. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 9(2), 141-154.

See also:

Hirschfeld, R. M. A. (1998). American health care systems and depression: The past, present, and the future. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 59(Suppl 20), 5-10.


About Jeremy Burman

Jeremy Trevelyan Burman is a senior doctoral student in York University’s Department of Psychology, specializing in the history of developmental psychology and its theory (especially that pertaining to Jean Piaget). Prior to returning to academia, he was a producer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

2 thoughts on “Bibliography: Histories of Depression

  1. I really appreciate this, but I have to know: how could you possibly have time for all this work? It would take me forever to make a list like this. I guess I still have a lot to learn about how to do research. Thanks so much!

  2. This is a very useful list — I also would like to mention:

    Hirshbein, Laura D.
    Science, Gender, and the Emergence of Depression in American Psychiatry, 1952-1980
    Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences – Volume 61, Number 2, April 2006, pp. 187-216

    She’s working on a book-length history of depression that will cover a longer time-span.

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