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Is There A "Covid-19 Depression"?





Is there a "Covid-19 depression"?

Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, J.-D. Nasio wondered about the depressed patients who came to see him in recent months. For him, there is no doubt: the Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to a particular form of discomfort.


You talk about "Covid-19 depression", are we witnessing the emergence of a new mental disorder?

Many colleagues and I are seeing more and more depressed patients, and I am seeing an epidemic of depression with different symptoms than classic depression. It is this unprecedented depression that I call the "Covid-19 Depression"


What are the specific symptoms of this form of depression?

We must return for a moment to the symptoms of classic depression to better distinguish. Depression is a state of emotional disturbance, which has three main characteristics: an overwhelming sadness, very marked and difficult to uproot; loss of energy and willpower; and self-worth, loss of self-esteem and a tendency to abuse oneself. In the Covid-19 depression, things are quite different. On the one hand, sadness is not overwhelming but anxious and anxious. The sources of anxiety are very diverse: the fear of being sick, of being infected or of infecting a loved one, uncertainty about the economic and social future, confinement and forced promiscuity in the home, restrictions… On the other hand, the depressed Covid-19 is exasperated, he gets angry, he is irritable. The depressed Covid-19 is driven by a strong aggression, which he turns against others, especially those who lead us and should manage the crisis.


You say the depressed Covid-19 is irritable, irascible, exasperated ... Isn't he also frustrated?

Frustration is a cause of Covid-19 depression, not a symptom. Let me explain. In Covid-19 depression, the subject experiences a succession of deprivations, injustices and frustrations in such a way that they gradually become anxiety-provoking and unbearable. His anguish increases in parallel with the amplification of the annoyances he perceives, and the more his anguish increases, the more he gets angry, frustrated and angry with the authorities, until he is overwhelmed by fatigue and discouragement. At this point of exasperation, he slips into depression.

We therefore understand that the "Covid-19 depression" does not arise from an emotional shock but from an accumulation of anxiety …Absolutely. It takes a while. In fact, it occurs when one gets to the point where there is a reversal of anxiety. The subject feels an increasingly strong anxiety, until it is too much, and there he falls into sadness.



Since the end of the tunnel cannot be seen yet, would you say that there are still many people who can have "Covid-19 depression"?

Unfortunately, yes. But it also raises the question of how we will get out of this health crisis, how it will stop. I think through vaccination we will come to a situation where the coronavirus is going to become a past story. More exactly, it will continue to exist, but it will no longer be a source of anguish. Today, when you turn on the TV, there is something to feed and accelerate the anxiety of vulnerable people! When Covid-19 is no longer an anxiety-provoking subject, Covid-19 depression will go away on its own.


Do you mean that we will learn to live with it?

No, what I'm saying is that in the near future, we won't be paying so much attention to this disease and this virus. Learning to live with it would be to say that we will continue to talk about it a lot, to create fear around it. It's not the same thing. In my opinion, the attention to Covid is going to disappear, because history shows it: we have already had epidemics, and yet the main thing has not changed. The human being is a being of impulses, everything that is in the domain of the emotional will continue as before. We will continue to love, to be jealous, to have family conflicts ... Even if some innovations that were born with the epidemic will continue, such as changes in the relationship to work, the heart of our social life will remain the same. Let's talk about the others.


You mentioned the exasperation of decision-makers, but what about the exasperation of those who do not respect sanitary measures?

For me, we are not on the same register. Exasperation is really a state of nervousness, fed up with annoyance. So, it's very clear, she speaks against the decision-makers. Regarding the reproaches of some against those who do not wear the mask or other, two things: on the one hand, I believe that they are already fewer today, on the other hand, it is not necessarily exasperated people, they are anxious and even very anxious people. They are in the current climate of fear and I would say they are at higher risk for Covid-19 depression.


Can we help a person very anxious by Covid-19?

The best thing to do is to be relaxed in front of them, because genuine serenity helps the anxious feel better. This is the key to my work as a psychoanalyst: to have real emotion. And this is valid for everyone. More than words, the serenity and authenticity with which you talk to a worried friend can help them and make them want to take action.

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