Meaning of Melancholy

What is Melancholia:

The melancholia is a feeling characterized by a state of deep sadnesswhich manifests itself in individuals as discouragement, despondency and apathy towards things and towards life.

Melancholy, in this sense, supposes a tendency towards sad and pessimistic thoughts, a permanent feeling of worthlessness and a constant fixation on one’s own shortcomings, as well as the loss of interest in affective matters.

Melancholy is born for various reasons: because we are not happy with ourselves, because we feel dissatisfied in life, because we believe that we need things that we cannot obtain. Hence, melancholy has an implicit non-acceptance of our present and a propensity to detract from our achievements.

The word melancholy, as such, comes from the Latin melancholĭla, and this in turn from the Greek μελαγχολία (melancholía), which means ‘black bile’ or ‘atrabilis’. This name originates from the theory of the four humorsconceived by the ancient Greeks to explain the origin of diseases and changes in temperament in individuals.

Thus, depending on the major influence of one of the bodily fluids in a person’s organism, individuals could be classified as sanguine (blood), phlegmatic (phlegm), choleric (yellow bile), and melancholic (black bile). In this sense, it was the black bile that, in people, caused the sad, despondent and apathetic behavior that characterizes melancholic individuals.

Melancholy in Psychology

In the field of psychology, what was formerly known as melancholiatoday it is called depression. In this sense, it is characterized by a state of acute sadness, a deep feeling of pessimism, and great discouragement and loss of interest in life in general.

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As such, the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freudat work mourning and melancholy, considered that, from the moment melancholy became permanently installed in an individual, it became a pathology, since it prevented the normal development of their daily activities, making their life difficult at a social, work and productive level. Hence, today it is treated as a disease and the use of antidepressant drugs is appealed for its treatment.