Melancholia: Past and present.

Patients in the contemporary period (1995-2010, compared with 1875-1924) at first admission for severe depressive disorders are more likely at an older age, more likely to go on to die by suicide, and will have much more frequent admissions. The data from this study support classical perceptions of melancholia. The poor outcomes in contemporary cases[…]

Melancholic features and hostility are associated with suicidality risk in Asian patients with major depressive disorder.

Background Suicide rates are higher in East-Asians than other populations, and especially high in Koreans. However, little is known about suicidality risk and melancholic features in Asian patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Method Drug-free MDD outpatients were included from 13 centers across five ethnicities consisting of Chinese (n=290), Korean (n=101), Thai (n=102), Indian (n=27),[…]

Melancholia and the Probability and Lethality of Suicide Attempts

The authors compared suicide attempts associated with melancholic versus non-melancholic major depression in 377 patients. Controlling for depression severity & other covariates, melancholia at baseline assessment was associated with more serious past suicide attempts & with the probability of suicide attempt during follow-up. (24 refs.)

Melancholy and Suicide


Analytic Understanding of Suicide

Published in “Suicide Risk & Protective Factors in the New Millennium,” ed. by O T Grad

The Occurrence of Suicide in Severe Depression Related to the Months of the Year and the Days of the Week

This study investigated the distribution of suicide during the months of the year & the days of the week in people with severe depression. 1,206 Swedish inpatients with severe depression from 1956 to 1969 were included. 114 of these patients died by suicide. There was a significant peak in October/November for men. There was a[…]

Biological Correlations of Suicide and Aggressivity in Major Depressions (With Melancholia): 5-Hydroxyindoleacetic Acide and Cortisol…

5-Hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) & cortisol in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), response of the dexamethasone suppression test (DST) & the clinical response to treatment with 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTp) plus carbidopa were studied in a group of 21 depressed inpatients in order to correlate biological findings with psychopathological ones. A positive correlation was found between strong suicidal thoughts, suicidal[…]

Agitated Depression as a Mixed State and the Problem of Melancholia

After a review of the literature on melancholia agitata & on the concept & clinical forms of mixed states, the psychopathology of agitated depression is discussed. Clinical forms are described, & new diagnostic criteria are proposed. The term “mixed depression” is proposed for all forms of agitated depression.

Music and Melancholia

This paper examines the psychiatric ailments of some of the great composers: two committed suicide, four suffered from severe depression, three had other ailments; & three had manic-depressive illnesses. The mood swings of these composers are compared with their periods of intense composition. For some, it seems that they were most productive immediately after a[…]

Darkness Visible (IN: On Suicide: Great Writers on the Ultimate Question, edited by J Miller)

This excerpt from “Darkness Visible” relates Styron’s experiences with major depression. Styron describes the course of his illness, his decision to commit suicide, & the event that changed his mind & caused him, instead, to seek help for his depression.