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Depressive disorders

Depression, what is it?

Depression (also known as depressive disorder) can be confused with a temporary "blues" or a simple "stroke of the blues". However, this is a real mental disorder, or rather a family of disorders. These depressive disorders are manifested by a sad mood, loss of interest in any activity, and low energy.

Other symptoms are decreased self-esteem and self-confidence, unwarranted guilt, thoughts of death and suicide, difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping or loss of appetite, such as specifies the World Health Organization (WHO). Depression can also be accompanied by physical symptoms.

Depressive disorders can have significant consequences on the emotional, family, professional and social life of the person concerned. Despite these difficulties, it is possible to recover from depression.  

"Depression" or depression?

Existence confronts us with difficulties, conflicts and frustrations which sometimes cause sadness, discouragement and weariness. These episodes can be mistaken for depression. Support from relatives, recourse to professional help (general practitioner, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc.) can help overcome this sadness, this "depression", without the need for an antidepressant medication.

In depression, unlike "blues", mood and discomfort vary little from day to day or according to life events.

Symptoms of depression

Depression is defined by a number of symptoms, according to the WHO International Classification of Diseases (ICD 10). For a diagnosis to be made, many of these symptoms must be present throughout the day and almost every day, for at least two weeks. They should not appear or disappear depending on the circumstances of life.

  • depressed mood, sadness, loss of interest

  • fatigue or loss of energy

  • appetite disorder (with weight loss or gain)

  • sleep disturbances (loss or increase)

  • slowing down or restlessness

  • feeling of inferiority, loss of self-esteem

  • inappropriate guilt

  • difficulty concentrating

  • dark thoughts, thoughts of death, suicidal behavior.

Depending on the duration, severity and number of symptoms, we will talk about mild, moderate or severe depressive episode.

Some misconceptions about depression

“People with depression are weak people who lack willpower. You just have to make an effort to get out of it ”

FACT: Loss of energy and interest in usual activities are precisely symptoms of depression. Will alone is no way out. Saying “shake up” to the person is ineffective and makes you feel guilty.

"Depressive one day, always depressed"

FACT: Depression is not inevitable. It is not a character trait either. It is possible to recover from depression.

How to treat depression  

The goal of treatment is to relieve suffering and sadness, to reduce the consequences of depression and the risk of suicide. Treatment is based on psychological support which can be provided by psychotherapy (eg supportive therapy, brief therapy, group therapy, etc.) and, if necessary, medication. Indeed, psychological help may be sufficient to overcome a mild or moderate depressive episode.

The  antidepressant drugs  should be considered especially in cases of severe or prolonged depression.


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