How can depression be treated without medication? : Current Woman Le MAG

There depression is not an ordinary mood swing. It takes hold over time, causing a lasting loss of the ability to experience pleasure, and even interest. It radiates into all aspects of daily life, including the relationships we have with those around us. The WHO estimates that 3.8% of the world population suffers from depression, including 5% of adults, or 280 million people in total. There are many causes and many forms of depression, but certain mechanisms remain poorly understood today. Faced with this common mental disorder, several therapeutic options are available to patients. Psychologist Maria Hejnar developed ways to treat depression without the use of medication.

What is depression?

“Depression does not designate a simple bout of depression or temporary sadness but a real psychological illness. It is characterized by disturbances in mood (sadness, loss of pleasure). Depressive mood leads to a pessimistic vision of the world and of oneself. It lasts more than two weeks and has a significant impact on daily life (loss of sleep, disturbances in appetite and sexual desire, loss of intellectual performance, isolation, etc.). Willpower alone does not allow you to get out of this situation. This is why it must be treated so as not to get complicated or become chronic,” recalls Health Insurance.

If it is more common in adults, it can occur at any age, underlines the psychologist. Moreover, in 2021, 12.5% ​​of French people would have experienced depression, according to the France Public Health Barometer, which took into account the situations of more than 24,000 people. Young people between 18 and 24 years old are the most affected (20.8%), but teenagers are also among the victims of this mental illness, up to 8%. Certain profiles are more at risk than others, this is the case for single-parent families, people with financial difficulties, women, people who live alone, the elderly for example.

Treating depression, with or without medication?

When we hear the word depression, we often think of its drug “cure”, the antidepressant. The latter (which comes in different formulas) can be prescribed in the event of a moderate to severe depressive episode. It allows, via a chemical action, to reduce symptoms. But antidepressants are always associated with psychotherapy, and are not systematic.

According to psychologist Maria Hejnar, it is possible to treat depression without medication, but only under certain conditions. She notes in the preamble thatsome serious depressions cannot be treated without medicationbecause to come to therapy, you need a minimum of vital energy.” She defines depression as a loss of “flame”, “vital energy”.

What therapy for depression?

According to the psychologist, there is no predefined plan for treating depression through therapy, because there are several forms. This must be decided after a clinical examination, depending on the patient. In all cases, “psychotherapy is recommended, regardless of the type of depression”, notes Health Insurance. “It reduces depressive symptoms, reduces the frequency of recurrences or leads to lasting remission.” It can be practiced in different ways, either in a group, as a family, or even individually. You can go see a psychiatrist or even a psychologist, and different approaches exist to treat depression.

Among the best known, we note psychoanalytic therapy, which focuses on the patient’s history to try to find the source of their depression, without dwelling too much on the symptoms through which it manifests itself on a daily basis. There is also cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) which, conversely, focuses on symptoms. The objective is to allow the patient to manage their stress, get back to sleep, improve their daily life by reducing the impact of depression symptoms.

Maria Hejnar adds that integrative psychotherapy – which uses different approaches – makes it possible to adapt to the level of discouragement and demotivation of the person who suffers. She returns to a technique, often used in addiction situations. (behind which depressions are regularly hidden, she notes): motivational interviewing. The patient is encouraged to verbalize his problem and to identify the changes he could make to get better. The objective is to allow him to move beyond the ambivalence of “I’m bad, but I don’t have the strength to make sure I get better”, which is often a difficult step to take. Here, the therapist is not in the position of someone who wants to make the patient change. It is the latter who decides to change and who chooses how to do it. Afterwards, “we encourage him with very small advances, we simply support his development”.

For Maria Hejnar, long-term psychotherapies are often the most effective in fighting depression, because they allow you to go deeper. Depression often comes from afar, and settles in without knowing why. It can even go back to something we experienced in childhood, because one of our parents was themselves depressed following the loss of a loved one…”


Treatments for depression, Health insurance


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