Depressive disorders have been around right from the the beginning of recorded history. Hippocrates referred to depression as melancholia, which literally means black bile. Black bile, along with blood, phlegm, and yellow bile were the four humors (fluids) that accounted for the basic medical physiology of that time. Depression has been portrayed in literature and the arts for hundreds of years. In the 19th century, depression was seen as an inherited weakness of temperament

Depression - Depressive disorders


  • Depressive disorders come in different forms, just like heart disease and diabetes. The three most common types of depressive disorders are discussed below. However, within each of these types, there are variations in the number, severity, and persistence of the symptoms.

  • Major Depression Major depression is characterized by a combination of symptoms, including low moods(see symptom list) that interfere with the ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. Disabling episodes of depression can occur once, twice, or several times in a lifetime.


Dysthymia is a less severe type of depression. It involves long-term (chronic) symptoms that do not disable, prevent the affected person from functioning on ‘full steam’ or feeling good. Sometimes, people with dysthymia also experience episodes of major depression. This combination of the two types of depression is referred to as double-depression. Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)

Another type of depression is bipolar disorder, which was formerly called manic-depressive illness or manic depression. This condition shows a particular pattern of inheritance. Not nearly as common as the other types of depressive disorders, bipolar disorder involves cycles of depression and mania, or elation. Bipolar disorder is often a chronic, recurring condition. Sometimes, the mood switches are dramatic and rapid, but most often they are gradual

When in the depressed cycle, the person can experience any or all of the symptoms of a depressive disorder. When in the manic cycle, any or all of the symptoms listed under mania may be experienced. Mania often affects thinking, judgment, and social behavior in ways that cause serious problems and embarrassment. For example, unwise business or financial decisions may be made when an individual is in a manic phase.


Adults: You may be said to have clinical depression if you have a depressed mood for at least 2 weeks and have at least 5 of the following symptoms:

  • Feeling sad or blue

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities

  • Significant weight loss or weight gain

  • Inability to sleep or excessive sleeping

  • Agitation or irritability

  • Fatigue or loss of energy

  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt

  • Thoughts of death or suicide


Children with depression also experience these classic symptoms, but may exhibit other symptoms as well, including the following:

  • Poor school performance

  • Persistent boredom

  • Argentum nitricum [Arg Nit]

  • Frequent complaints of physical problems such as headaches and stomachaches

  • Some of the classic “adult” symptoms of depression may also be more obvious in children, such as change in eating or sleeping patterns. (Has the child lost or gained weight in the recent weeks or months? Does he or she seem more tired than usual?)

  • Parents of children with depression report noticing the following behavior changes. If you notice any of these, discuss this with your health care provide

  • The child cries more often or more easily 8. The child spends more time alone, away from friends and family

  • The child actually becomes more “clingy” and may become more dependent on certain relationships. This is not as common as withdrawal

  • The child expresses thoughts about hurting him or herself, or exhibits harmful behavior. The child seems to be overly pessimistic or exhibits excessive guilt or worthlessness

  • Elderly: While any of the classic symptoms of depression may occur in elderly people, other symptoms also may be noted


  • Silicea (also called Silica)

  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate

  • Silicea (also called Silica)

  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate

  • Unexplained physical complaints (for example, abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits or muscle aches)

  • Memory impairment (in about 10% with severe depression)