Mel’an-chol-ў. [Lat. Melancho’lia; from the Gr. μέλας, μέλανος, “black,” and χολή, “bile;” because supposed by the ancients to proceed from black bile.] (Fr. Mélancolie, ma’lon’ko’le.) A disease characterized by gloomy thoughtfulness, ill-grounded fears, and general depression of mind.

“Let us first consider the milder forms of melancholia where depression without delusion is the most prominent symptom. If any of you devote yourselves to the study of mental disorders, you will encounter such cases constantly. They are the out-patients, so to speak, of this special practice. A considerable number may be treated as out-patients, and recover without the restraint of an asylum. Not unfrequently we find persons who suffer from periodical attacks of melancholy, lasting from six to twelve months, and passing away, perhaps without treatment, to return in two or three years’ time, with no apparent cause beyond an inherited constitution and a periodical tendency to recurrence. For these treatment – at any rate medicinal treatment – does little, but in ordinary cases it is necessary; and unless it is special and appropriate, the patient will drift into a more advanced stage of melancholia, or the existing malady will become confirmed and obstinate, and require moths rather than weeks for its cure.

Depression is the chief feature of mild or simple melancholia. The sufferer has no pleasure in life; life itself is one long pain, hence the wish to end it. After a short and restless night, with little and unrefreshing sleep, he wakes in the deepest gloom, with all his morbid thoughts intensified without hope in this world.”

Source: Joseph Thomas, "A complete Pronouncing Medical Dictionary: Embracing the Terminology of Medicine and the Kindred Sciences, with their signification, Etymology, and Pronunciation " (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1893)

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