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Why current society favors the boom of depression in France

stevanovicigor via Getty Images Why current society favors the boom of depression in France.

stevanovicigor via Getty Images

An Odoxa survey carried out for the Danish laboratory Lundbeck, (specialized in particular in depression and schizophrenia), sheds harsh light on the major phenomenon that depression constitutes for analyzing contemporary French society.

Its impact is largely understated, whereas more than a quarter of French people questioned (28% exactly, it was 15% 20 years ago) declare that they are or have been affected by a depression. It sometimes conveys a practical denial, at the very least an embarrassment that alone can tell us a lot about what is really at issue (those things we don’t talk about).

The subject is therefore not new, but it is on the rise. It is widely recognized that its perception is changing even if this seniority can constitute a bias in properly understanding the issue represented by depression in contemporary France.

This issue and its drivers are multiple and complex. No doubt this is one reason why comments and explanations often seem insufficient. However, it should not be ruled out that this weakness reflects either the reluctance or the limits of reassuring methods that seek explanatory causalities, or a suspicious intentionality to place depression in registers that legitimize known treatments. We are not only aiming here at the commercial interests of pharmaceutical laboratories, for example, but just as much at the way in which political discourse or the organization of the company take hold of them.

It is particularly remarkable, in this respect, that the comments in this Odoxa poll refer, themselves, to other polls on the way the French have of analyzing the situation even though we have just emphasize the difficulty of sharing.

We now know that respondents are increasingly strategists and that they are quick to formulate answers that reveal other aims than those they express. But we must also admit that words are generally misleading, but more particularly when they are supposed to reflect psychological considerations that are not necessarily rewarding in society.

Emergency physicians at the hospital, already overwhelmed, describe the growing share of depression and the need for care in the crowds in the emergency room, which appear to be the last lashing of disoriented people.

We would like to focus here on a particular axis of perception of this deep malaise, individual and collective, that constitutes depression. More and more voices bring out a new analysis of this, in accordance with the profound changes that our society is experiencing. This insists on two characteristics of the process of personal valorization which constitute the requirement of success, to put it quickly, but in connection with a right and an authorization of each one to have access to everything. This is what characterizes what is called the horizontal society, self-authorization. Among these voices, we can cite that of Charles Melman (The Man Without Gravity, Denoel) or Alain Ehrenberg (The Fatigue of Being Oneself, Odile Jacob).

These new rights, this new legitimacy to the claim of the horizontal society have as their counterpart a great guilt in the face of failure but also a personal responsibility in the face of this injunction to succeed.

Two things are, in this regard, to be highlighted in this Odoxa survey: the response of 76% of people on the need for medical and psychological support and the importance of the phenomenon among young people.

We have there the crucible of the rejection of politics as well as one of the causes of fake news of “popular origin”, revenge of a new power, social networks, faced with this adversity of not being able to target an enemy, substitution for political commitment.

This importance of depression and the way it emerges highlights a feeling of abandonment, an unspoken lack of trust and support, more than the traditional view of injustice.

Our society, faced with this very worrying situation, does not give the impression of having adapted analytical grids. Yet there is indeed a rampant social distress and even the phenomena of communitarianism or even terrorism are not unrelated to this.

The refoundation of the place of politics and trust goes through this work.

At a time of great declarations concerning the new potential of artificial intelligence to guide the public actor, could we not ask ourselves what the algorithms of the transversal decryption of the semantics of the copies, of course, anonymized, would tell us, of the baccalaureate? As if we found the much-vaunted teachings of the contributions of the three-day sessions of military service or conscription to fully understand French society.

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