Book ID: CBB846402776

The Empire of Depression: A New History (2020)


Sadowsky, Jonathan H. (Author)

Polity Press

Publication Date: 2020
Physical Details: 224
Language: English

Depression has colonized the world. Today, more than 300 million of us have been diagnosed as depressed. But 150 years ago, "depression" referred to a mood, not a sickness.Does that mean people weren't sick before, only sad? Of course not. Mental illness is a complex thing, part biological, part social, its definition dependent on time and place. But in the mid-twentieth century, even as European empires were crumbling, new Western clinical models and treatments for mental health spread across the world. In so doing, "depression" began to displace older ideas like "melancholia," the Japanese "utsushô," or the Punjabi "sinking heart" syndrome.Award-winning historian Jonathan Sadowsky tells this global story, chronicling the path-breaking work of psychiatrists and pharmacists, and the intimate sufferings of patients. Revealing the continuity of human distress across time and place, he shows us how different cultures have experienced intense mental anguish, and how they have tried to alleviate it. He reaches an unflinching conclusion: the devastating effects of depression are real. A number of treatments do reduce suffering, but a permanent cure remains elusive. Throughout the history of depression, there have been overzealous promoters of particular approaches, but history shows us that there is no single way to get better that works for everyone. Like successful psychotherapy, history can liberate us from the negative patterns of the past.

Reviewed By

Review Eva Andersen (2022) Review of "The Empire of Depression: A New History". Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences (pp. 131-133). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Pieters, Toine
Montgomery, Sarah Fawn
Blazer, Dan G.
Borch-Jacobsen, Mikkel
Dowbiggin, Ian Robert
Ghaemi, S. Nassir
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
History of Psychiatry
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Medizinhistorisches Journal
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
Oxford University Press
University of Minnesota
Cambridge University Press
Empêcheurs de Penser en Rond
Johns Hopkins University Press
Mental disorders and diseases
Pharmaceutical industry
Binswanger, Ludwig
Burton, Robert
Roland Kuhn
Time Periods
20th century, late
20th century
19th century
21st century
16th century
18th century
United States
Great Britain
United States. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA)

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