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Mental disorders

Depression and Manic Depression

Alzheimer’s-type Dementia

Help Lien : Les principaux symptoms de la depression Lien : Major Depressive Episode Lien : Depression Screening Quiz
Lien : Depression Test Lien : Les principaux symptoms de la depression

The incidence of mental disorders in children and adolescents, and particularly of depression, is often underestimated. On the surface, young people’s problems may seem less serious, because what seems important to them (academic pressures in school, being rejected by friends, etc.) may seem trivial to adults. But these problems are just as real, and 2% of all children and 5 to 10% of all adolescents experience episodes of depression.

Children who are subject to depression tend to blame themselves, and only themselves, for any unfortunate event. Usually, these are children who receive little support from their family setting.

Depression in young people is a serious concern. For one thing, the frequency of suicide attempts in children and adolescents is related to depression in most cases. For another, preventing depression in children seems to be the best way of preventing it in adults.

Children who are abnormally preoccupied with negative ideas should be identified as early as possible. The appropriate interventions would then consist in helping these children to see their problems as temporary, to perceive reality from different angles, and not to take more than their fair share of responsibility when things go wrong.

Experiment : Prévenir la depression chez l'enfant peut atténuer cet état chez l'adulte Link : Du Prozac pour les enfants Link : Dépressions et troubles anxieux chez l'enfant et les jeunes



Daily events and the way that we react to them can sometimes trouble our peace of mind. Anyone can go through a period when they feel sad and lonely every day. But when feelings like this go on for weeks or even months, they may be the first signs of depression.

An estimated 1 out of 5 women and 1 out of 10 men will experience depression at some time in their lives, which makes this a very common ailment. Depression can prevent people from coping with their normal activities, their work, and their relationships, thus seriously compromising their sense of well-being and their ability to live their lives.

Psychiatrists generally consider someone to be suffering from depression when they present at least 5 of the following symptoms almost every day for at least 2 weeks:

  • Depressed mood for a large part of the day
  • Lack of interest or pleasure in almost all daily activities
  • Decrease or increase in weight or appetite
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Agitated movements (such as wringing of hands) or slow movements
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Indecisiveness or difficulty in thinking or concentrating
  • Recurrent thoughts of death (in 60% of cases) or suicide (in 15%)
  • Once a doctor diagnoses depression, it is important to begin a course of treatment as quickly as possible, to prevent the depressive state from getting worse. Left untreated, depression tends to become chronic or recurrent, and major depression leads to suicide in about 15% of the people who suffer from it.

    Research on the causes of depression has increasingly revealed how complex this disease is and how many different factors can contribute to its onset.

    Pregnancy and childbirth are very intense experiences that can cause all kinds of upheavals for women. The terms “baby blues” and “day 3 syndrome” refer to the episodes of crying and short-term depression that about 50 to 70% of all mothers experience on the second or third day after giving birth. This condition is attributed to the sudden drop in their levels of certain hormones, as well as to the exhaustion resulting from childbirth, lack of sleep, recurrent strong emotions, and so on. This mild form of depression does not require any treatment and generally disappears after about 10 days.

    But 10 to 20% of women experience a more severe form of depression, known as postpartum depression. Its symptoms are similar to those of major depression, but it is often diagnosed late, because both the woman and the people around her tend to attribute it to the usual overwork following the birth of a baby. Postpartum depression can appear at any time during the year following childbirth and lasts an average of three to six months, though it sometimes stretches out for over a year.

    A final note: cases of depression during pregnancy are at least as common as postpartum depression.

    Link : More Than Just "the Baby Blues": The Spectrum of Postpartum Affective Disorders Link : Dépression après un accouchement – Dépression postnatale Link : DÉPRESSION POST-PARTUM

    During the short days of winter, many people have less energy and feel a little down, but 2 to 6% of the population of northern countries actually experience a particular form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder. The exact causes of this disorder are not yet known. But it is known to be associated with the lack of light due to the reduced hours of sunshine. Various studies have shown that nearly 65% of the people with this disorder feel better after undergoing treatments with “light therapy”, which simply means spending about 30 minutes per day under a lamp that gives off a very bright light.

    Link : Vidé ? A plat ? Gare à la depression saisonnière ! Link : Dépression saisonnière Link : Dépression hivernale Link : Trouble affectif saisonnier


    Lien : Bipolar disorders Lien : Bipolar disorder Lien : Vivre avec le trouble bipolaire Lien : FAMOUS PEOPLE WHO HAVE OR WHO HAVE MANIC DEPRESSIVE DISORDER
    Lien : Famous People Who Have Suffered from Depression or Manic-Depression Lien : Manic Episode Lien : Les troubles de l’humeur

    In children and adolescents, some periods of hyperactivity are obviously normal. Just because children decide for a while that they are really Superman, Batman, or Spiderman does not mean that they are in the throes of a clinically manic episode.

    The term “cyclothymia” refers to a particular mood disorder where individuals experience the ups and downs of bipolar disorder, but to a lesser extent. The periods of mania, known as “hypomanic episodes”, are shorter and less severe than in full-blown bipolar disorder. During such episodes, individuals can still attend to their jobs and their social activities, but not optimally.

    Lien : Cyclothymic Disorder Lien : Cyclothymic Disorder Link : HYPOMANIA

    Manic depression has been known since ancient times, but it was a German psychiatrist, Emil Kraepelin, who first described its symptoms more systematically, in the late 1800s. Today, specialists prefer the expression “bipolar disorder”, which avoids the negative connotations associated with the word “manic”.  

    Both the painter Vincent Van Gogh and the author Ernest Hemingway suffered from manic depression throughout their lives.

    Unlike ordinary people whose moods are influenced by specific events in their lives, people with bipolar disorder seem to follow their own cycle of mood fluctuations. Like passengers strapped into a roller coaster, they have no choice about the ups and downs; they must simply go along for the ride.

    And “ups and downs” is an appropriate description, because unlike depression (also known as “unipolar disorder”), bipolar disorder includes not only depressive states characterized by the same systems as depression, but also “manic” episodes that alternate with them.

    During these manic phases, individuals are excessively exuberant. Their thoughts race feverishly, leading to extravagant behaviour. They see patterns everywhere—everything seems connected to everything else, and the smallest event can take on an exaggerated meaning. These people can also be very creative; the connections that they draw between things constantly inspire them with new ideas and new theories.

    More systematically, specialists often distinguish four major categories of symptoms of manic episodes:

    1) External appearance. The individual’s external appearance is extravagant or sloppy, provocative, or even indecent. A person in a manic phase may call out to strangers in the street with an abrupt familiarity, sometimes mixed with sarcasm.

    2) Mood exaltation. During manic phases, individuals feel exuberant and have extreme confidence in their own powers and charm. They have sexual adventures with no thought for the possible consequences and often with a total lack of inhibition or tact. They do not tolerate any criticism of themselves and are easily irritated and angered.

    3) Accelerated thought processes. Manic individuals’ thoughts come so fast that their words can’t keep up with them. They evoke one image, then move on to the next before their listeners have had time to absorb the first one. They keep jumping from one unrelated topic to another and keep talking even if people have stopped listening. Their ability to focus their attention is greatly diminished, but their imagination is greatly amplified.

    4) Motor hyperactivity. In manic phases, people don’t know the limits of their own strength. They don’t take the time to eat or sleep. They take on several projects at once without stopping to determine whether they are even feasible. These individuals make major upheavals in their lives (change jobs, go on long trips, make foolish expenditures, etc.) and may become distrustful or even paranoid, accusing the people around them of wanting want to keep them from carrying out their grandiose plans.

    From all these symptoms, one can easily see why it is vital to ensure that people with bipolar disorder receive appropriate treatment quickly. Even though the causes of these diseases are still incompletely understood, there are ways to reduce their effects considerably.

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