How Everyone Became Depressed

The rise and fall of the nervous breakdown

Edward Shorter, Ph.D., is the Jason A. Hannah Professor in the History of Medicine at the University of Toronto.


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About How Everyone Became Depressed

Depression is a real and serious illness, especially in its melancholic form. But most people diagnosed with "major depression" today don't have it. They're anxious, fatigued, unable to sleep, and obsessed with their symptoms.  In the 19th century these patients were called "nervous."  But under the influence of Freud, nervous illness was shifted from neurology to psychiatry, spotlighting the mind and ignoring the rest of the body. The result has been a scientific disaster, resulting in the misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment of millions.

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