AskDefine | Define dolorous

Dictionary Definition

dolorous adj : showing sorrow [syn: dolourous, lachrymose, tearful, weeping]

User Contributed Dictionary



From doleros (modern French douloureux), from dolorosus.


  1. Solemnly or ponderously sad.

Extensive Definition

In the field of psychiatry the terms depression or depressed are used in both the ordinary, non-clinical sense and to refer specifically to pathology, especially when the mood of depression has reached a level of severity and/or duration that warrants a clinical diagnosis. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) states that a depressed mood is often reported as being: "... depressed, sad, hopeless, discouraged, or 'down in the dumps'." In traditional colloquy, "depressed" is often synonymous with "sad," but both clinical and non-clinical depression can also refer to a conglomeration of more than one feeling. Such a mixture can include (but is not limited to) anger, fear, anxiety, despair, guilt, apathy, and/or grief, in addition to what many people would describe as typical "sadness."


Biological influences of depression are varied, but can include hereditary, hormonal, and seasonal factors, stress, illness, neurotransmitter malfunction, and long-term exposure to dampness and mold and to aerosol exposure via the frequent use of air fresheners and other aerosols in the home,, all of which are more fully discussed in the major depressive disorder article.

Depression as mechanism of adaptation

While a depressed mood is usually referred to (and perceived) as negative, it can sometimes be subtly beneficial in helping a person adapt to circumstance. For example, physical illness, such as influenza, can lead to feelings of psychological malaise and depression that seem, at first, only to compound an already unpleasant situation. However, the experience of depression, or feeling "down," often results in physical inertia, which leads to the compulsion to rest. The fleeting helplessness and immobility of the physically ill may also serve to elicit care from others.
From an evolutionary standpoint, some argue that depression could be at least partially related to atavistic fears that were originally based on real dangers. Marcello Spinella, Ph.D., in his book, How Sadness Survived: The Evolutionary Basis of Depression, suggests that, because "social support and interdependence were important features of the [human] ancestral environment"[,] "the [peer] group could have offered extra help to the depressed person until the condition resolved." Further, "...a depressed person may change the attitudes of other people around him, making them more sympathetic to his needs and therefore giving him a long term [social or reproductive] advantage."
Temporary depression, psychologist Thomas Moore, Ph.D., suggests, can, in some cases, not only "...provide a rest from the hyperactivity of the good times...," but can also be assigned value in the overall spectrum of human experience, and might enrich the ways in which members of a community relate to, and support, one another. In some cases, Moore says, "dark times [can] leave their mark and make you a person of insight and compassion."

Mental disorders with depression

A chronic depressed mood is usually a core feature of such mental disorders as:


External links

dolorous in Modern Greek (1453-): Κατάθλιψη
dolorous in Icelandic: Depurð
dolorous in Yiddish: דעפרעסיע

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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