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History

The Ancient Greeks Thought Bipolar Disorder was a Divine Gift

Did you know that two of the first human diseases described by the classical Greek physicians are “mania” (mixture of anger, rage, and euphoria) and “melancholia” (sadness)? Jules Angst and Andreas Marneros wrote a paper that scoured ancient writings for observations about bipolar disorder. They found that review of pre-Hippocratic era manuscripts revealed descriptions of “morbid states of depression and exaltation.” In other words, super highs and super lows. Sound familiar?