What is a depression?

Depression, a disease of the century, has become a major public health issue. Consultations for depression continue to increase. The psychoanalyst Pierre Fedida proposes a new look at this disease, evoking even its benefits! He goes around the question for we ...

Why does depression appear?

Pierre Fédida: The symptoms are extremely varied but characteristic. When a person has no taste, no interest in anything and seems to be crushed by a cloak of sadness, one is probably possible in the register of depression. Other factors may confirm the diagnosis such as chronic anxiety, appetite and sleep disorders, decreased morale and tone ... To summarize, the depressed state could be defined as: the feeling of being Annihilated.

Who are depressed and is it related to our way of life?

Pierre Fédida: The occurrence of serious events can be a reason enough to sink into this state. Bereavement of a loved one, rupture in love, dismissal are a priori good "starters" to develop this syndrome. The reality is more complex. I defend the hypothesis that the coming of a depressed state can be explained by the disappearance of the "depressive capacity" of an individual. That is to say, this faculty which we have to cushion the shocks of existence or of strong internal tensions. Without this protection, man is depressed. He continues to live by maintaining a minimum level of existence for fear of not being able to bear more.

You talk about the benefits what are they?

Pierre Fédida: Of course, pessimistic natures present an ideal ground. But more broadly, I support the idea, as the sociologist Alain Ehrenberg, that depression is inherent in a society that relies on entrepreneurship and performance at all costs. Faced with the new credo: adapt quickly, and innovate, the depressed indicates a fatigue of social exigency. He seems to give up always to be up to it. The figures are striking: estimated at 3% in the 1970s, this disorder reaches 15% today, according to a recent report of the Credes. This is not a coincidence.

How to cure depression?

Pierre Fédida: Depression is a negative response to its imperatives. Not only does it provide warning signal functions, it is also a regulator. By creating an internal economy favorable to the transformations in progress, it allows the subject to recover his desires but in a way that does not anticipate his means. The human being shows an extraordinary ability to adapt (new technologies, new codes of love). When the psychic complaint occurs, it signals that we can no longer take certain shocks with impunity without taking a pause. It is a phase of underground transformation.

Pierre Fédida: Momentarily the prescription of an antidepressant can relieve the suffering of the patient by acting on the symptoms. The drugs are less toxic and more comfortable than they were originally. But therapeutic management remains the driving force of healing. This work involves speaking and listening. The psychologist helps to analyze the painful events. In the difficult moments of life, it is a matter of getting to know one better to face the shocks of existence.

"The benefits of depression" by Pierre Fédida, Editions Odile jacob.