History of Mood Disorders 

✯Mood: A pervasive emotional tone varying along an axis from happiness to sadness. 

Early History:

✩Ancient Greeks identified that mood disorders were diseases of body, rather than the effects of Supernatural Spirits. 

✩They also identified the link between elevation of mood and depression. 

✩The Hippocratics also identified that mental disorders are located in the brain. 

✩This insight was lost for 2000yrs under the influence of Galen’s Humoral Theory which held that melancholia was due to an excess of black bile & mania due to an excess of yellow bile. 

✩Thomas willis (1621-1675), sedleian professor of natural philosophy at Oxford University (better known for his description of eponymous circle of willis) is now recognized as one of the 1st to (re)locolize psychiatric disorders within specific body organs primarily the “Brain”. 

✩At the turn of 20th century, “kraepelin” distinguished ‘dementia praecox’ from ‘manic-depressive insanity’. He emphasized the episodic course, relatively benign prognosis & family History of Mood Disorder for the later. 

✩Under the influence of “Freud”, “Bleuler” expanded Kraepelin’s Original concept of ‘dementia praecox’ to include some of the less severe from that he identified in the general population & renamed the disorder schizophrenia, to reflect his views of the fundamental psychology of psychosis. 

✩The school of Kleist & Leonhard identified the heterogeneous nature of patients with ‘manic depressive illness’: some had both mania & depressive episodes while others had only depressions. They coined the terms “Bipolar” & “Unipolar” to describe these two forms. 

✩After World Health Organization & World Bank’s Global burden of Disease study in 1990, it became clear that unipolar depression was  amongst most important causes of disability worldwide.


  • New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry(2nd edition).

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