chapter  1
28 Pages

De®ning and diagnosing depression

The words of these two modern writers capture vividly the experience of depression, but its themes have also been echoed in ancient texts of the Bible, Greek, Roman, and Chinese classicsÐas well as Shakespearean plays and Russian novels. Depression is a universal, timeless, and ageless human af¯iction. Among those who ®rst described the features of depression in modern clinical terms was Kraepelin (1921, p. 76), the German scholar who helped establish a classi®cation system for mental disorders:

Mood is sometimes dominated by a profound inward dejection and gloomy hopelessness, sometimes more by inde®nite anxiety and restlessness. The patient's heart is heavy, nothing can permanently rouse his interest, nothing gives him pleasure . . .