What is it?

The depression is a mood disorder that is accompanied by sadness and mental distress. Depression varies in intensity, from despair to profound demoralization.

It is not a weakness of character or a "lack of will." The mechanism of depression is not known precisely, but it is probably a disturbance of chemical in the brain, causing a biological disorder of mood and mental and physical functions. The decrease in the brain of a chemical molecule, serotonin, and perhaps also other molecules, could play an important role.

Causes and risk factors

The exact causes of depression are still unknown. However a number of contributory factors have been identified individually.

- Personal factors: the personal or family history of depression, neurotic personality structure are risk factors. The consumption of drugs or alcohol may have a role trigger;
- Factors related to the environment: overwork, lack of sleep, the frustrating experiences, loneliness can promote depression;
- Genetic factors: there may be a genetic predisposition to endogenous depression.
Psychiatrists differ among the various syndromes depressive states:

- Melancholia (manic-depressive psychosis or endogenous depression);
- The exogenous depression or neurotic reaction;
- The atypical depression;
- The depression during the evolution of a chronic psychosis;
- The depression called secondary alcohol, steroids, infections, trauma, brain tumors ...

Endogenous depressions
They are represented by the melancholic depression or melancholy crisis in one integrated manic-depressive unipolar or bipolar. The subject moves into depression without apparent cause. If this is a manic-depressive bipolar, depression alternating with manic states (hyper activity, a succession of violent joy and anger ..).

The exogenous depression
These are the most frequent depressions. They are called neurotic or reactive.

The patient is depressed at an outdoor event. However, the reaction of the subject is more painful than another person. The patient himself will the relationship between causative events and depressive attack.

Depressions symptomatic or associated
They are sometimes dominant clinical expression of disease:

- Mental Dysthymic schizophrenia (atypical depression);
- Brain: Parkinson's disease, brain tumor;
- Toxic: drug addiction ...

Some are specific depressive syndromes

- The masked depression where the patient complained of various somatic disorders;
- Depressions monosymptomatic (one symptom);
- The equivalent of depression: episodic alcoholism, abuse of barbiturates, fatigue, sexual dysfunction ...
- Depression affects essential subjects whose personality organization is neither neurotic nor psychotic. These are called borderline personalities who often decompensate a depressive mode.

The signs of the disease

Depressed mood

It comes with a pessimistic view of the world and oneself, lack of interest. The devaluation is common: the patient complains of not having enough will, whereas it is precisely inhibited by his illness. The depressive feels guilty and useless, and often has difficulty making decisions.

Sadness not depression. It is an emotional state inherent psychological difficulties encountered by any individual. It is not pathological when linked to a painful event or following an object loss (bereavement, failure, separation) and it fades naturally over time. The adaptability of the subject allow emotional adjustment and investment in other areas of interest. The depression is rather incapable of this readjustment.


This is a decrease in vital energy, energy, intellectual processes and physical exertion, ranging from fatigue and slowing the cessation of activities. The patient has difficulty concentrating, thinking, reacting, which only increases his feeling of worthlessness.


It is often present in depression, and can sometimes be at the forefront. It determines in part the importance of sleep, the intensity of complaints and facilitates the transition to a suicidal act.

The somatic

- Sleep disorders (insomnia or hypersomnia);
- Anorexia, weight loss or weight gain contrary, constipation;
- Sexual dysfunction, decreased libido;
- Irritability.

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