The Age of Melancholy
Major Depression and Its Social Origins
by Dan G. Blazer 
 
Depression has become the most frequently diagnosed chronic mental illness, and is a disability encountered almost daily by mental health professionals of all trades. Major depression is a medical disease, which some would argue has reached epidemic proportions in contemporary society, and it affects our bodies and brains just like any other disease. The Age of Melancholy asks why the incidence of depression has been on such an increase in the last 50 years, if our basic biology hasn't changed as rapidly. To find answers, Dr. Blazer looks at the social forces, cultural and environmental upheavals, and other external, group factors that have undergone significant change. In so doing, the author revives the tenets of social psychiatry, the process of looking at social trends, environmental factors, and correlations among groups in efforts to understand psychiatric disorders.
The Age of Melancholy
Major Depression and Its Social Origins
by Dan G. Blazer 
Routledge, 2005.
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