Depression in humans has always been a part of humankind. Healers, writers, and philosophers had each agreed throughout the ages that depression not only existed, but was either a physical or mental struggle for people the world over. Yet, they themselves had had their own struggles during those experiential times. “How does one heal another with depression correctly without full comprehension of its complexities?” Today, we may be closer than ever. But first, let’s take a look at the past:


5th century B.C.: Hippocrates believed that the body was made up of too much “black bile,” secreted by the spleen. Depression, (melancholia), was absolutely a physical ailment. However, Greek and Roman literature of the time was filled with references to mental illness caused by spirits or demons.

1600’s: Neurologist Thomas Willis, was an early forerunner of present day neuropsychiatry and philosopher of the mind. He was a pioneer in researching the anatomy of the brain, nervous system and muscles. Willis believed that depression was not a possessed spirit, but rooted in the brain. Unfortunately, his enlightenment did not improve his treatment of patients, advocating in some cases to hit the patient over the head with sticks.

The 18th and early 19th centuries:
It was thought that depression was an inherited, unchangeable weakness of temperament. People should be shunned or locked up. As a result, most people with mental illnesses became homeless and poor and some were committed to institutions.

Early 19th century: New therapies for depression included water immersion (without drowning the patients) and a special spinning stool to induce dizziness (to rearrange the contents of the brain into the correct positions). Horseback riding, special diets, enemas and vomiting were also recommended therapy.

1938: Electroconvulsive therapy was thought to be the only effective modern treatment for depression, but the procedure sometimes caused memory loss, among other side effects.

1952: Doctors noticed that a tuberculosis medication (isoniazid) was also useful in treating people with depression. Shortly after, the practice of using medications to treat mental illness gained full steam.

1987: Eli Lilly released the first antidepressant drug, Prozac. It was an immediate hit. In just three years, two million people around the world were taking it and pharmaceutical companies began churning out their own only slightly different versions of the drug soon after.

Today: It has become the norm that multiple professions and approaches to treatment have important roles to play in helping people overcome depression.

An Astounding Treatment for Today

Ketamine, which began in the operating room over fifty years ago, has been repurposed. Today, it is being used by physicians at Michigan Pain Clinic for the treatment of chronic pain and mood disorders. The treatment is called Ketamine Infusion Therapy.

According to Dr. Mark Gostine, MD, President of Michigan Pain Clinic, the over four thousand patients they’ve treated with Ketamine have seen significant results. “What we have found is that Ketamine Infusion Therapy is very useful for both depression and chronic pain sufferers. It is very good for mood disorders such as depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Bi-Polar disorders, and there’s even been some indication that it may be useful for Autism. The overall best success in using Ketamine Infusion Therapy is to treat patients who have both pain and depression. Chronic pain frequently causes depression. If you only treat the pain and not the depression you are not going to get as good of an overall result than if you can treat both.”

Contact Michigan Pain Consultants Today

Exciting medical breakthroughs such as these continue to keep Michigan Pain Consultants at the forefront of providing effective pain management programs in the West Michigan area.
Make an appointment for a new patient consultation with one of their board certified pain physicians. All of Michigan Pain Consultant’s physicians are Board Certified in Anesthesiology or Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and have advanced training and experience in Pain Medicine. You can begin first by visiting online at,, or by calling them at (800)281-3237.

With six locations throughout West Michigan, Michigan Pain Consultants comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to pain care offers patients and providers renewed hope for relief from chronic pain. Chronic pain should be treated like other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, or congestive heart failure. Chronic pain requires chronic treatment. The goal of the treatment is to optimize the management of the pain, as opposed to curing the pain.