Depression is a mood disorder
- profound sadness,
- a lack of desire to live,
- withdrawal into oneself,
- loss of interest and motivation,
- behavioural change,
- psychological and physical slowing down,
and which, in extreme cases, can lead to suicide.
Depression is an incapacitating moral sufferance that disturbs one’s relationships with family and friends and disrupts professional life. Depressive episodes can last over variable lengths of time. However when depression lasts longer than two years, we call it chronic depression.
Unfortunately, depression is a common issue. The INPES (French National Institute of Health Prevention and Education) has estimated that about 20% of people aged between 15 and 75 have suffered or will suffer from depression at least once in their life.
One can also mention bipolar troubles (previously called maniac-depressive psychosis) which consist of alternating depressive phases and maniac breakouts (overexcitement, hyperactivity, insomnia).
A psychological trauma
(mourning, post-partum, unemployment, break up),
can lead to any one of us feeling depressed. Common amongst the populations in industrialised countries, depression manifests itself particularly in midlife and affects women twice as much as men.
However, according to a recent study, unfortunately teenagers seem to be more and more affected by depression. Different types of addictions seem to play an important role in this new phenomenon: withdrawal into oneself, lack of exercise, and loss of self-esteem.
The warning signs:
In the case of a real depressive episode, in the medical sense of the term, several of the following symptoms are experienced during most of the day, and at least for two weeks in a row:
- permanent and extreme sadness,
- loss of interest,
- loss of libido,
- sleeping problems: insomnia or on the contrary, tendency to sleep excessively,
- extreme tiredness even without making any effort,
- memory or concentration problems,
- eating disorders: loss of appetite, weight loss or on the contrary bulimia,
- feeling of guilt and worthlessness,
- thoughts about death or suicide.
How can sophrology help?
Although sophrology can prevent depressive states, it cannot heal the illness. However, as a complement of a medical treatment, relaxation techniques and positive visualizations can be excellent tools.
The practice of sophrology encourages one to:
- regain contact with one’s body,
- find physical and mental wellbeing,
- discover one’s inner resources,
- regain energy and optimism.
Several interesting techniques can be applied to treat this pathology, for instance:
- conscious breathing: by feeling one’s perfectly natural breathing, the person will feel alive and will come back to the present moment. Conscious breathing is also very useful in case of sleeping problems as it brings calmness,
- synchronic breathing to generate positivity, vital energy and capacities,
- relaxation to learn to let go and find one’s physical and mental wellbeing,
- positive visualizations to rebuild self-confidence,
- concentrating on a neutral object to work on attention and concentration.
The movements, exercises and techniques taught during sessions are simple and can be rehearsed alone at home. The idea is to really head towards autonomy so that the person can be the principal actor in battling depression.
8 sessions minimum, knowing that the number of sessions will depend on the state, feeling and the person’s training. Sophrology sessions are generally held once a week. It is also recommended to rehearse the exercises at home for better results.
In case of a depression, alongside sophrology, it is important to keep up with the medical treatment that was issued by the general practitioner or psychotherapist.