The Diagnosis, Pathophysiology and Treatment of Depressive Illness


This book provides a comprehensive review of melancholia as a severe disorder of mood, associated with suicide, psychosis, and catatonia. The syndrome is defined with a clear diagnosis, prognosis, and range of management strategies, differentiated from other similar psychiatric, neurological, and general medical conditions. It challenges accepted doctrines in the classification and biology of the mood disorders and defines melancholia as a treatable mental illness. Described for millennia in medical texts and used as a term in literature and poetry, melancholia was included within early versions of the major diagnostic classificatory systems, but lost favour in later editions. This book updates the arguments for the diagnosis, describes its characteristics in detail, and promotes treatment and prevention. The book offers great hope to those with a disorder too often mis-diagnosed and often fatal. It should be read by all those responsible for the management of patients with mood disorders.


"Taylor and Fink are right to call attention to the current neglect of melancholic depression...The authors' emphasis on the special nature of melancholia serves as a welcome reminder that we should pay more attention to this blackest form of mood disorder."
Samuel H. Barondes, The New England Journal of Medicine

"...the historical information and broad understanding of the complex subject matter will be valid for many years to come."
Victoria A. Shea, M.D., Psychiatric Services

"The book elegantly integrates genetic predispositions, environmental stressors, temperament, and neurophysiology to both explain what is known about the causes of melancholia and to chart a research agenda.... should be required reading for younger clinicians and residents trained under the hegemony of categorical classification systems..."
Cynthia M. A. Geppert, MD, PhD, MPH, Psychiatric Times

"I doubt anyone has ever written as comprehensive a book on any aspect of mood disorder.... Overall an outstanding work, thorough and precise. It is written at several levels, and can be read by anyone, no matter what level of training or professional expertise."
Roy Sugarman, Ph.D., Director of Clinical and Neuropsychological Services, Brain Resource Company, Ultimo, Australia
Metapsychology Online Reviews