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UCAM expert warns of the increase in psychosocial factors causing depression

On the occasion of the World Day to Combat Depression, César Toledo, psychiatrist and lecturer at the UCAM Faculty of Medicine, stresses that factors such as school or work-related bullying, family disintegration or lack of affection are causing an increase in this pathology, beyond genetic or neurophysiological aspects.

Dr César Toledo in a classroom at the Faculty of Medicine on the Los Jerónimos Campus
Dr César Toledo in a classroom at the Faculty of Medicine on the Los Jerónimos Campus

The World Health Organisation states that depression, a pathology that affects 2.5 million people in Spain and 300 million worldwide, ‘will be the main cause of disability in 2030’. This trend is associated with the ongoing changes in society, ‘difficulties today, even though they are fewer than a few decades ago, cause more anxiety. There is more stress, more expectations, and objectives that are increasingly difficult to achieve,’ comments UCAM lecturer and psychiatrist César Toledo who, on the occasion of the World Day to Combat Depression, assures us that ‘nowadays a person is not satisfied with a job and a family, they have to be and have more and more. All the messages are along these lines and this particularly affects the younger population.’

There are different types of depression; major depression, bipolar depression, dysthymia or secondary symptoms associated with personality disorders, among others. Knowing which one you are dealing with is important in order to establish a diagnosis and treatment, and in this sense, Dr Toledo reminds us that the alarm signal is activated with the so-called biographical break, ‘which is when a before‑and‑after takes place in the routine or attitude of a person, who realises that something has changed and cannot understand why. If they detect the situation that generates it, they understand that, in other circumstances, it would not have affected them so much’. This is the point at which a specialist should be consulted, ‘there has always been a lot of embarrassment involved in talking about this subject, but more and more people are seeking help from specialists. Patients usually come encouraged by family or friends, this is more common than patients coming on their own because, although less than before, they still think a lot about it and it is difficult to break this stigma,’ states Toledo.

In this sense, the role of the nuclear family is key, which must ‘guide and support the patient, but also act as a barrier of containment’, they often have to set limits ‘and say “this is it, get up and go outside”.’ For this reason, Dr César Toledo sends a message to all those who are going through a depressive process: ‘You should lean on your loved ones. You can get out of it. There is a very good prognosis, once you start treatment. People think it will last a lifetime, but clearly you can leave it behind. There is light at the end of the tunnel,’ he concludes.