Contrary to popular belief, the depressionit’s not just a simple “slack”: it’s abouta real disease which corresponds to an imbalance of neurotransmitters, these chemical substances which transmit information in the brain. Depression (which is also called a “characterized depressive episode” in medical language) is not a rare disease either: Inserm estimates that approximately 1 in 5 French people suffers from it or will suffer from it during his life.
Anyone can be affected by depression: children, adolescents, pregnant women, seniors… There are, however, certain risk factors: thus, a traumatic event (break-up, dismissal, bereavement, etc.) can promote the development of this pathology. There is also a genetic vulnerability.
How to tell the difference between depression and depression?
Depression is a disease characterized by specific symptoms: the most important of these is a constant feeling of sadness for at least 2 weeks. Conversely, a “simply” depressed person will be able to feel other emotions: they may, for example, have moments of joy with their loved ones, smile sincerely, see the positive around them.
Good news : Depression is a disease that can be treated with both medication (antidepressants) and psychotherapy (eg cognitive behavioral therapy). According to Inserm, treatments for depression are effective in about 70% of cases. However, it is essential to consult as soon as possible: in fact, the earlier the disease is treated (by a psychiatrist or general practitioner), the shorter the treatment and the lower the risk of relapse.
Do you really age faster when you suffer from depression?
According to researchers at Stanford University (United States), being in a state of depression, of loneliness or great sadness would be A aging accelerator.
There are several markers of aging, one of which is is very well known: the measurement of the length of the telomeres in our cells (ends of the chromosomes). The shorter the telomeres, the “older” our cells are. Another marker is the “Grim’Age” which evaluates the degree of methylation of our DNA. Methylation regulates and balances many reactions and contributes to the permanent repair of our DNA. Its level decreases with age, but this process is reversible depending on our lifestyle. Stanford researchers have observed that people who have suffered from depression severe have a higher Grim’test than the control group (a difference of 2 years). This would suggest that there is an “aging” effect of depression severe, independent of other environmental factors.
This suggests that we could act on aging by treating the depressionand reciprocally.
Who can be contacted to treat depression?
- The general practitioner : this is the first point of contact, because there is a relationship of trust with the attending physician. This can treat the first mild depressive episodes and knows where to refer the patient when necessary.
- The psychiatrist : he is a doctor specializing in mental illnesses, including depression. He prescribes anti depressants and can conduct psychotherapy.
- The psychologist : he is not a doctor and therefore does not dispense medication. Its role is to offer empathetic listening, to advise, but also to conduct psychotherapies, behavioral and cognitive therapies… In the event of depression, one can turn to a clinical psychologist, trained in mental pathologies. The intervention of psychologists will be developedfrom the end of this year in the medico-psychological emergency cells (CUMPS) ; from 2021 in medico-psychological centers (CMP) and multi-professional health centers (MSP).
- The psychoanalyst : he conducts a psychoanalysis according to an approach developed by Freud. This therapy seeks to re-emerge distant causes that have become unconscious, which would be at the origin of psychic suffering. This is a long-term process that cannot be undertaken during the depressive episode.
Sources: Inserm And High Authority for Health (HAS))
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