Depression: three techniques to replace drugs

Antidepressants are ineffective in one third of the depressions. Meditation, Transcranial Magnetic stimulation, or cognitive remediation: these innovative methods can sometimes replace them. Do not take depression lightly. The “coup de blues” sometimes hides a deep distress. If this sadness lasts for several weeks, it should absolutely consult a physician because only he can judge […]

Antidepressants are ineffective in one third of the depressions. Meditation, Transcranial Magnetic stimulation, or cognitive remediation: these innovative methods can sometimes replace them.

Do not take depression lightly. The “coup de blues” sometimes hides a deep distress. If this sadness lasts for several weeks, it should absolutely consult a physician because only he can judge the intensity of symptoms and prescribe appropriate treatment.

Antidepressant medicines remain indispensable to treat severe depression. But, for depression say “light”, scientific studies have shown that psychotherapy had increased efficiency…

Recently, we saw emerge new therapeutic solutions coming to compete with antidepressants on their own turf…

The mindfulness meditation: taking the mediation reculLa full awareness or mindfulness can master the whirlwind of dark ideas…

How does it work? «» “Meditate allows to disengage from his ruminations and take back from his emotions”, explains Dr. Christophe André, a psychiatrist at the hospital Sainte-Anne (Paris). The idea is to focus its attention on the present moment. A way to re-anchor its thoughts in reality..

The results are amazing: the risk of relapse is divided by two, and in case of recidivism, the episodes are less intense. Thus, when comparing three groups of depressive patients during a period of two years, 80% of people taking a placebo have relapsed, but only 20 to 30% of those taking an antidepressant and those who practiced meditation only…

For whom? For patients who have undergone several depressive episodes, relapse prevention…

Meditating is within the reach of everyone, but especially not in acute period of depression. “It is a demanding psychological activity,” said Christophe André. As swimming or sailing, you cannot learn perfect storm”…

At what rate? Meditation is effective provided that they practice every day. Initiation is done for two or three months, at a meeting of 2.5 hours per week, more than 30 minutes of daily practice.

Then, it is recommended to meditate fifteen minutes every morning and several times in the day, as soon as the black ideas emerge…

Transcranial Magnetic stimulation: booster the cerveauEn temporarily, changing the functioning of neurons, this technique helps the brain to find an activity improved…

How does it work? The patient is sitting quiet. No need for anesthesia. A coil, placed on the surface of his skull, sends a series of magnetic pulses that will change, Transiently, electrical and biological target neural circuit activity; which will have the effect of stimulating the release of serotonin and dopamine…

“Applied at the prefrontal, magnetic stimulation improves the mood. There are more than 600 scientific publications in the depression”, assures Dr. David Szekely, psychiatrist at the Grenoble University Hospital…

According to these studies, 17 to 25% of patients see their symptoms disappear. In 30-50% of cases, brain function is improved, which may allow to undertake a psychotherapy in parallel…

The first effects appear after two weeks of treatment. The side effects are minimal (headaches, drowsiness…)..

For whom? For patients with moderate to severe depression, in which two or three trials of antidepressants did not expected results…

At what rate? 15 to 30 minutes sessions should be daily at first, then spaced, and repeated on two to six weeks. In France, 30 of psychiatric teams offer this technique…

Learn more: the list of the centres is on the site of the French Association of Biological Psychiatry…

Cognitive remediation: regain confidence in soiCette method has already proved its effectiveness in schizophrenia. It stimulates cognitive functions battered by the disease.

How does it work? It is brain training “paper and pencil” or on computer exercises. For example: identify a “trespasser” in a grid, or to remember a list of words…

We always start at an easy level: “often, depressive patients have a self-esteem low enough. Through the years, they have a positive return,”said Ouriel Grynszpan, lecturer in neurosciences at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris)…

For whom? For patients who have experienced several episodes of depression with major problems of memory, concentration or attention. Cognitive remediation avoids these problems get worse…

“A priori, we can also propose it during the depressive phase, to accelerate the return to normal. But we are faced with the lack of motivation of patients,”notes Anna Grynszpan..

At what rate? The program must be short, but intense and regular. In general, it is proposed a session per week at the hospital, with a therapist. and at least three sessions per week at home. All on seven to eight weeks…

If cognitive remediation is still experimental in the depression, according to the first results, patients derive some satisfaction and seem less anxious…

Learn more: French Association of cognitive remediation.

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