Gordon Parker, a professor of psychiatry at the University of New South Wales is leading an international team of psychiatrists who want the ancient condition of melancholia listed as an illness in its own right in the 2013 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The affliction was originally described in the fifth and fourth centuries BC by the Greek physician Hippocrates, who identified sufferers as being plagued with ongoing “fears and despondencies”. But in the 20th century, the illness fell out of favour with doctors who now must choose between minor and major depression when diagnosing patients. But Parker believes melancholia, which affects people from birth and is not brought on by environmental factors, is a separate condition that usually only responded to certain types of antidepressants or electroconvulsive therapy. Treating melancholic patients with psychotherapy or counselling did not help and often led to higher rates of suicide, he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.