What Is Depression?

The depression is a mood disorder that is accompanied by sadness and mental distress. Depression varies in intensity, from despair to profound demoralization.

It is not a weakness of character or a “lack of will.” The mechanism of depression is not known precisely, but it is probably a disturbance of chemical in the brain, causing a biological disorder of mood and mental and physical functions. The decrease in the brain of a chemical molecule, serotonin, and perhaps also other molecules, could play an important role.

Causes and risk factors

The exact causes of depression are still unknown. However a number of contributory factors have been identified individually.

– Personal factors: the personal or family history of depression, neurotic personality structure are risk factors. The consumption of drugs or alcohol may have a role trigger;
– Factors related to the environment: overwork, lack of sleep, the frustrating experiences, loneliness can promote depression;
– Genetic factors: there may be a genetic predisposition to endogenous depression.


Psychiatrists differ among the various syndromes depressive states:

– Melancholia (manic-depressive psychosis or endogenous depression);
– The exogenous depression or neurotic reaction;
– The atypical depression;
– The depression during the evolution of a chronic psychosis;
– The depression called secondary alcohol, steroids, infections, trauma, brain tumors …

Endogenous depressions

They are represented by the melancholic depression or melancholy crisis in one integrated manic-depressive unipolar or bipolar. The subject moves into depression without apparent cause. If this is a manic-depressive bipolar, depression alternating with manic states (hyper activity, a succession of violent joy and anger ..).

The exogenous depression

These are the most frequent depressions. They are called neurotic or reactive.

The patient is depressed at an outdoor event. However, the reaction of the subject is more painful than another person. The patient himself will the relationship between causative events and depressive attack.

Depressions symptomatic or associated

They are sometimes dominant clinical expression of disease:

– Mental Dysthymic schizophrenia (atypical depression);
– Brain: Parkinson’s disease, brain tumor;
– Toxic: drug addiction …

Some are specific depressive syndromes

– The masked depression where the patient complained of various somatic disorders;
– Depressions monosymptomatic (one symptom);
– The equivalent of depression: episodic alcoholism, abuse of barbiturates, fatigue, sexual dysfunction …
– Depression affects essential subjects whose personality organization is neither neurotic nor psychotic. These are called borderline personalities who often decompensate a depressive mode.

The signs of the disease

Depressed mood

It comes with a pessimistic view of the world and oneself, lack of interest. The devaluation is common: the patient complains of not having enough will, whereas it is precisely inhibited by his illness. The depressive feels guilty and useless, and often has difficulty making decisions.

Sadness is not depression. It is an emotional state inherent psychological difficulties encountered by any individual. It is not pathological when linked to a painful event or following an object loss (bereavement, failure, separation) and it fades naturally over time. The adaptability of the subject allows emotional adjustment and investment in other areas of interest. The depression is rather incapable of this readjustment.


This is a decrease in vital energy, energy, intellectual processes and physical exertion, ranging from fatigue and slowing the cessation of activities. The patient has difficulty concentrating, thinking, reacting, which only increases his feeling of worthlessness.


It is often present in depression, and can sometimes be at the forefront. It determines in part the importance of sleep, the intensity of complaints and facilitates the transition to a suicidal act.

The somatic

– Sleep disorders (insomnia or hypersomnia);
– Anorexia, weight loss or weight gain contrary, constipation;
– Sexual dysfunction, decreased libido;
– Irritability.

Seasonal Depression in Men

Gentlemen, your morale is lowered, and you have only one desire: to sleep and eat candy? You may be suffering from seasonal depression, the fall classic Because the disorder is not typically feminine! Men may also be affected. Update on the winter blues with male and therapy. With the approach of winter, you lack enthusiasm in the office, you throw yourself on sweets, which is unusual among you, and you dream of staying under the covers as long as possible.

Beware of seasonal depression! Symptoms appear at the end of autumn, and can significantly affect your work performance and your relationships.

Symptoms of seasonal depression in humans

Usually, the mood disorders are mainly reserved for women, but in the case of SAD, you gentlemen are not spared. But man is not a woman like any other: the syndrome autumnal touch with varying intensity between 10 and 40% of the population and only one-quarter of men. Those aged 20 to 40 years are most likely to suffer.

However, the symptoms themselves are identical. Namely, increased fatigue, sadness, decreased interest in recreation. Men who experience depression seasonal need sleep more than usual and they may feel tired even after a night of sleep 12 hours. In parallel, their appetite increases and it is a time when they gain weight.

The brains of men and SAD

Depression appears to be a link with the days getting shorter. Less time exposed to sunlight, our brains would work more on the way “night” and then produce a perturbation of a chemical. The production of melatonin, the hormone involved in sleep needs would increase, while exerting an effect on us tiring and depressing. While serotonin, it would diminish, “which would explain the increased appetite for sugar”. This depression “seasonal” is not equated with psychological disorders, but rather organic. Night workers or people living in a dimly lit area may also suffer, including summer. Some men can cure depression with testosterone boosters.

Light therapy SAD cons male

Your doctor will discuss with you whether this is a seasonal depression, whose symptoms decrease in general the return of spring. But this is no excuse for doing nothing. This is for you to cope better this time to find your tone, your libido, appetite and a “normal”. The love handles out of the winter is rarely good for morale! In addition to conventional treatments for depression based on psychotherapy, conducted by a specialist, and antidepressants, light therapy has also proven. This technique is to put 30 minutes a day about facing a light diffusing bright light (10 000 lux). In practice, this method affects our biological clock: the one that governs a number of our functions, such as reproduction, rhythm sleep wake, our mood. Some doctors practice light therapy in their offices. But as we know how you are reluctant, gentlemen, if only to see, and therefore to treat you, know that there are also lights that are used at home. However, take precautions and ask your doctor if you have no eye problems that could worsen the lights …

Recognize Depression in Children

Behavioral problems, the vagaries of development, adolescent crisis. Before 20 years, the mood of children is changing. How do I know if a depression? How to interpret his “I do not care,” “I’m no”, “nobody loves me” …

Long depression remained poorly identified in children and adolescents. Considered a hazard to the psychological maturation, it was then assessed as highly dependent on age in its manifestations: it has spoken of “depressive equivalents” by attaching vague symptoms: opposition to parents, eating disorders, delinquency etc..

We now know that the “hard core” of depressive symptoms is the same whether a child or an adult: sadness, indifference, intellectual inhibition, negative thoughts, sleep disturbances.

Depression, a disease prevalent among adolescent

Depression affects 1% of children and 5% of adolescents. This represents a considerable weight in terms of individual suffering as public health. This frequency is even more disturbing that the attempted suicide is a complication of depression.

Contrary to what we see in adults, the frequency of occurrence of depression is the same for girls and boys before adolescence. But at puberty, we note, as an adult, a sex ratio of 2 to 1 in favor of females. The explanations are primarily psychosocial: teenagers were significantly more likely than boys their age lower self-esteem with a negative perception of the body.

In children and adolescents, depression is rarely isolated

The Registry of anxiety disorders are associated with depression in 40 to 70% of cases. This may be separation anxiety, panic disorder, school phobia and learning disabilities in children.

Disruptive behavior (or conduct disorder), often occur before the depression they are a risk factor, they can also survive him. The risk behavior, particularly the use of alcohol or psychoactive drugs are often secondary to disorders of adolescent depression. They constitute an aggravating factor.

What are the signs of depression in children?

We need a listening ear to hear in the expressions and unspoken child sadness and pathological symptoms of depression.

In his difficulties with the school that changes in child behavior are attracting the attention of his family and teachers. A child who has difficulty concentrating will often react by avoiding or refusing to work unless there obstinate long hours without result. In both cases, it leads to school failure.

But children may also manifest depression in ways that will seem paradoxical: he becomes irritable, excited, exhausted in a sterile, is angry. At other times he falls back on him.

Often her appetite will change. In children little is the lack of appetite which prevails; adolescents, it will often be more cravings or bulimia true. As for sleep is still disrupted and the child refuses to sleep, has difficulty sleeping, difficulty sleeping, fatigue.

On the opposition to conduct a self worthlessness, sometimes reinforced by the reaction family is created a vicious circle in which depression worsens, without being recognized or even suspected.

Dealing with depression in children?

Before a change in behavior of a child or adolescent who can not be explained properly by a family event, social or personal, whether that change is hard, if suffering should be consulted.

The role of family doctor or pediatrician is important at both diagnostic and therapeutic. Making the diagnosis, explain to the family and get his help may be enough to overcome depression.

But if the problem persists and is resistant to this first approach, it is desirable to see a pediatric psychiatrist who may decide to support the most appropriate.

In children, it is rare that antidepressant drugs are indicated. However, they can be very useful in adolescents.

Several forms of psychotherapy can be used and the choice of one or the other is with the family and the child himself.

The children of a depressed person

Children of depressed parents are often more psychological problems than others. The risk is three times higher for them in regard to mood disorders.

The depression will not have the same impact on children, if it occurs in the mother or with father. It does not sound the same way a small child or adolescent.

* A study has shown that 24% of children aged 1 year born to depressed mothers exhibit disorders of the interaction. More recently, it has been shown that 40% of children of parents with affective disorders presented around birth receive psychiatric care during their adult life.

These findings support the value of multifaceted therapeutic interventions with the couple formed by a depressed mother and her baby.

The influence of parent-child relationship is paramount to the development of depressive disorders in children from infancy through adolescence. The age of adolescence is marked by major transformations both physical and biological and psychological. Having a parent or depressed at this age probably does not promote a harmonious development.

What future for a child depressive

The risk of relapse and recurrence of depression in adolescence may in fact reach 70% after 5 years (for depression characterized). However depressive disorder reaction is almost never followed by a major depressive episode.

As for becoming an adult, it is currently impossible to determine:

– Some studies show that many of the children called “at risk” have in adulthood, against all odds, better skills than subjects considered safe;
– Other studies show that depressed children, compared to a control group would have no depression in adulthood.
However depressed adolescents themselves, are much more prone to depressive disorders in adulthood than controls.

To conclude, as recommended by the consensus conference on depression in children: “we can and we must free ourselves of the simplistic equation of determinism that links the fatal disease of adult depressive disorders of the child “.

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