Tag Archive for 'depressione'

The data about the stress from coronavirus

An international study, led by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain) spin-off Open Evidence, has revealed that the mental health of 41% of the UK population is at risk as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The research project, which involves the participation of researchers from the Glasgow University, Università degli Studi di Milano, Università degli Studi di Trento, Tilburg University and the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, indicates that almost 60% of the UK population require “the government not only to focus on containing the virus, but also on preventing a major economic crisis”.

The data collected in the first survey, which sampled 10,551 people (3,523 in the United Kingdom, 3,524 in Spain and 3,504 in Italy) between 24 April and 1 May, show that most of the population between 18 and 75 years of age report having felt down, depressed, or hopeless about the future at some point during this period: 57% in the United Kingdom, 67% in Spain and 59% in Italy. In the words of Cristiano Codagnone, co-founder of one of the participating entities, UOC spin-off Open Evidence, “the data provides a picture on the impact of the lockdown and we need to be prepared for the associated social and health consequences of that”.

The analysis of this data alongside additional factors such as housing type (full ownership, mortgaged property, rental, etc.), living conditions (square metres of accommodation, number of people living there, presence of school-age children), loss of employment, closure of own business, loss of income and access to COVID-19 testing has provided a general gauge in relation to people’s state of mental health in the three countries. The results reveal that the mental health of 41% of people in the UK is at risk, with figures of 46% and 42% registered for Spain and Italy, respectively.

Coco Gauff and her depression

Coco Gauff, 16 years old young new international tennis star. wrote on the website Behind The Raquet to have been depressed for a year, although getting good sports results has never been a problem and lives in a family where she is well and that accepts her. Nevertheless, something in this life with early successes has been a stimulus to develop depression from which she claims to have recently emerged.

“Sometimes I felt too busy compared to others. Most of my friends go to normal high school. I felt like they were always so happy to be ‘normal’. For a while I thought I wanted to be, but then I realized that, just like social media, not everyone is as happy as what you see in their posts. It took me about a year to get over this idea”.

In this blog, we have often talked about how sport can be a highly stressful situation for young people who dedicate a large part of their lives to succeed in tennis as well as in any other sport discipline. The high level of success achieved in adolescence, the total investment in a single sporting activity and the obvious reduction in social life to which the athlete is subjected, as well as the increasing pressures brought about by ever higher sporting expectations and the external environment can lead to psychological problems. These often appear with the spread of a feeling of estrangement from the present and depression as a lack of the idealized normal life that peers seem to lead.

If then the sport successes are experienced as an end on which to play the self-confidence and not as a means to realize oneself certainly as an athlete but above all as a person, the psychopathological disorders can find a fertile ground on which to develop.If you discover that you only play to win games, to become rich, to have the privileges that top athletes have, sport life becomes an endless chase to always have something more to be happy.

You can play tennis also for these reasons, absolutely legitimate, but if you don’t put yourself at the center of your sports project with the awareness of your skills and deficiencies, the risk of not holding up to the pressures inherent in sports-agonistic activity will be very high.

Here are the statements by Coco Gauff.

“I’ve always wondered how better or worse my life would be without tennis. With what this sport has given me I cannot imagine my life would be better without. At times I found myself too busy comparing myself to others. Most of my friends go to normal high school. I felt like they always seemed so happy being ‘normal’. For a while I thought I wanted that but then I realized that just like social media everyone isn’t as happy as what you see in their posts. It took me about a year to get over that idea. Again, my results were still okay, so this didn’t have much to do with tennis. I just wasn’t happy playing anyway. My parents did a great job of trying to make sure I did ‘normal’ childhood things. I was able to go to homecoming this past year and was planning on going to prom until the coronavirus. I do try to see friends as much as I can. My parents both work so I do spend a lot of time at home alone. It is challenging to do school alone while you can’t socialize with other students. Even though I may miss some things, I think this lifestyle I live is perfect for me, and it’s not for everyone. Traveling is never easy. I have two younger brothers and we are all really close. Every time I leave them it hurts a bit. I miss one of my brothers’ birthday every year because it falls right in the middle of the French Open. Through this all I am so lucky to have them because they aren’t the ones to be jealous. They don’t mind me getting more attention, they understand and are always supportive of what I do.

Throughout my life, I was always the youngest to do things, which added hype that I didn’t want. It added this pressure that I needed to do well fast. Once I let that all go, that when I started to have the results I wanted. Right before Wimbledon, going back to around 2017/18, I was struggling to figure out if this was really what I wanted. I always had the results so that wasn’t the issue, I just found myself not enjoying what I loved. I realized I needed to start playing for myself and not other people. For about a year I was really depressed. That was the toughest year for me so far. Even though I had, it felt like there

The mindset of the people who do not respect the rules

As long as I breathe I hope,” Cicero said, today we could translate it into “as long as there is life there is hope,” more brutal but equally true. The coronavirus affects precisely this capacity that is at the basis of the physiological and psychological needs of living beings. You may not drink or eat for a few days, but you can’t breath for a few minutes if you are not a champion of underwater apnea. Correct breathing is at the base of self-control and the stresses of our daily life determine as a first negative effect our own breathing problems. Fear makes us block our breath, anger hates it to allow us to scream at someone, sadness reduces it to a trickle of air that goes in and out and anxiety makes us breathe in a shallow and superficial way. Breathing reflects our level of physical fitness and well-being and one of the effects of this new virus is to block it, making assisted breathing necessary in many cases. Mario Garattini, founder of the Mario Negri Pharmacological Research Institute, MIlano, said that “everything will depend on us, on our ability to avoid contagion. Let’s adhere to the dispositions. If everyone had adequate lifestyles and there was adequate prevention, perhaps we would be more resistant”.

This awareness, combined with the worldwide spread of the coronavirus and its devastating effects, should have frightened people enough to never leave their homes again, motivating them to respect the rules that have been spread and whose implementation is mandatory. Nevertheless, thousands of people have continued to travel throughout our country and the police have fined more than 2000 people for violating the restrictive rules of the government decree. What are the reasons for this behaviour? Superficiality, too positive approach to the problem, anxiety and a lack of habit of following the rules. Superficiality is a kind of magic thought, in which people think that the coronavirus is a problem that affects others, such as the elderly and sick, is a way to protect themselves from feelings of sadness in the short term. These people deny the existence of the problem and, therefore, engage in behaviour to escape from their reality. A second type of attitude is people who have an approach not mediated by reality and that is too positive, such as those who thought at the beginning of the spread that it was little more than a flu. They are individuals who live under the illusion of positive short-term solutions. A bit like those who start a diet or want to quit smoking and are confident that they will succeed just because they have made this decision, they are illusory forms of thinking so that at the first obstacles people give up following the new rules they have given themselves because it is too difficult. In the case of the coronavirus the problem manifests itself in the difficulty in maintaining the rules of physical distancing from other people and then they go out, take a walk with friends and take their children to play in the gardens. Similar for the effects but different in reasons is the approach of those who feel angst in staying at home. They perceive themselves as prisoners, feel violated in their freedom of movement and live this condition in a claustrophobic way. To overcome it the only solution in going outside. Finally, there are those who live reactively to the rules, have an attitude of eternal adolescents fighting against the norms of the adult world. They find it difficult to make the rules their own, which in this case are mandatory, and to develop a pluralistic concept of social coexistence, based not only on their rights but also on their duties towards the community.

These are some possible interpretations of behaviours that in a period of world crisis like the one we are experiencing and of upheaval of our daily life can explain the actions of the many who seem not to want to adapt to the new rules.

Physical activity and depression

New study shows Physical Activity dramatically reduces depression despite genetic high-risk. Evidence-based primary prevention for #depression must include Physical Activity background.


Karmel W. Choi et al. Physical activity offsets genetic risk for incident depression assessed via electronic health records in a biobank cohort study. Depression & Anxiety, 5 novembre 2019.



Physical activity is increasingly recognized as an important modifiable factor for depression. However, the extent to which individuals with stable risk factors for depression, such as high genetic vulnerability, can benefit from the protective effects of physical activity, remains unknown. Using a longitudinal biobank cohort integrating genomic data from 7,968 individuals of European ancestry with high‐dimensional electronic health records and lifestyle survey responses, we examined whether physical activity was prospectively associated with reduced risk for incident depression in the context of genetic vulnerability.


We identified individuals with incident episodes of depression, based on two or more diagnostic billing codes for a depressive disorder within 2 years following their lifestyle survey, and no such codes in the year prior. Polygenic risk scores were derived based on large‐scale genome‐wide association results for major depression. We tested main effects of physical activity and polygenic risk scores on incident depression, and effects of physical activity within stratified groups of polygenic risk.


Polygenic risk was associated with increased odds of incident depression, and physical activity showed a protective effect of similar but opposite magnitude, even after adjusting for BMI, employment status, educational attainment, and prior depression. Higher levels of physical activity were associated with reduced odds of incident depression across all levels of genetic vulnerability, even among individuals at highest polygenic risk.


Real‐world data from a large healthcare system suggest that individuals with high genetic vulnerability are more likely to avoid incident episodes of depression if they are physically active.

Tiger Woods is back from the hell

In 2009, on the occasion of the” The Invitational “tournament, Arnold Palmer, the greatest golfer of the sixties, had gone to meet Tiger Woods to congratulate without even waiting for the outcome of the decisive putt of almost 5 meters that he had to sink to win “I knew he would do it simply because with Tiger nothing different can happen,” he was at the top of his golf career.

And instead, his career takes an unexpected curve, taking the tunnel of scandals and physical troubles. On November 28, 2009, following a dispute with his wife Elin Nordegren, Woods slams his Cadillac against a fire hydrant and then crashes into a tree in Isleworth, in the suburbs of Orlando. He spends a few weeks in a clinic to treat sexual addiction, but the problems are just begun.

In April 2011, the Achilles tendon was severely damaged, while in March of the following year he began to suffer for back problems that led him to undergo four surgical operations, including a spinal fusion that would definitely solve his problems. But until two years ago Woods couldn’t even bend to tie his shoes. “I could barely walk. I couldn’t sit down, lay down. I could do practically nothing, “said Woods yesterday after winning the Augusta Masters.

Notah Begay III, a friend of Woods with alcohol problems, puts him in contact with Michael Phelps, the king of swimming who had managed to put behind him a serious form of depression and two arrests for driving while intoxicated. The two talk on the phone, and Phelps, who is also a golf fan, manages to find the key to revitalizing Woods, destroyed by physical pain and above all by the fear of not being able to return to the top anymore “.

Now a few days ago he won the first Major of the season, the Augusta Masters 11 years after his previous success.

Nike, which had recently announced that it would no longer invest in golf, following the victory of the Augusta Masters relaunched Woods with its advertising campaign that had already had testimonials like Serena Williams and Colin Kaepernick.

Risultati immagini per tiger woods "it's crazy

Mental disorders and football

We don’t know a lot about common mental disorders of professional footballers, there are few research and scientific information (Gouttebarge and Aoki, 2014).

A recent study published in Journal of Sport Science and Medicine by Gouttebarge, Back, Aoki  and Kerkhoffs (Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 2015, 14, 811-818) investigated symptoms related to distress, anxiety/depression or substance abuse/dependence,  typically referred as symptoms of common mental disorders (CMD).

The aims of this study were “to determine the prevalence of symptoms related to CMD (distress, anxiety/depression, sleeping disturbance, adverse alcohol behaviour, adverse nutrition behaviour) in professional footballers from five European countries and  to explore associations of the outcome measures under study with life events and career dissatisfaction among professional footballers.”

In this study were selected 540 professional footballers from five European countries (Finland, France, Norway, Spain and Sweden) and the method used was an electronic questionnaire.

The symptoms considered by authors were: distress, anxiety/depression, sleeping disturbance, adverse alcohol behavior, adverse nutrition behavior.  Stressors like Life events and Career dissatisfaction were also considerate by authors, The results says that “the highest prevalence rates of symptoms related to CMD were:

  • 18% (Sweden) for distress
  • 43% (Norway) for anxiety/depression
  • 33% (Spain) for sleeping disturbance
  • 17% (Finland) for adverse alcohol behavior
  • 74% (Norway) for adverse nutrition behavior

This study also emphasized that “in Finland, France and Sweden, both life events and career dissatisfaction were associated with distress, anxiety/depression, adverse alcohol behaviour, and adverse nutrition behavior.”

In conclusion, this study is very important and should be supported more with new studies in other countries considering the number of football players in the world involved. Other studies revealed that symptoms related to CMD were as prevalent as in other populations, ranging from 10% for distress to 19% for adverse alcohol use, and 26% for anxiety/depression (Gouttebarge et al., 2015).

(Review by Emiliano Bernardi  from Sports Science and Medicine, 2015, 14, 811-818, http://www.jssm.org)

Serena Williams depression

The depression is suffering Serena Williams joins the one who had many other sport stars including Lindsey Vonn, Ian Thorpe, Gianluigi Buffon. Two aspects must be taken into great consideration when we talk about depression in sport. The first, the neurosis and psychopathology produced by unstable behaviors are unusual among elite athletes, because the sport is already a sort of vaccine against this type of event. Having learned to live very intense emotional situations and sometimes extreme, and their recurrence continuously over the years with positive outcomes, allowed the athletes to develop high level of self-esteem. Next to this the positive side derived from continuous competitive stress and by the discovery of a positive way to cope with, there is another aspect that it may in fact increase the risk of depression, corresponding to the choice of making their lives depend on the achievement of sport successes. So in case of failure, to be questioned is the value as a person. A failure that it can lead to a very severe depression and in extreme cases at the suicide. It’s no coincidence that Serena Williams had already previously suffered from depression when she had to stop playing, because of two health problems. In one case, she cut her foot on a broken glass, undergoing two surgeries and so she described her state of mind at that time: “Especially when I had the second surgery (on my foot), I was definitely depressed. I cried all the time. I was miserable to be around.” In 2011, she also developed a lung problem and she was hospitalized with a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs). She then underwent surgery for a large hematoma in her stomach. When she returned theathy she said she did not know what to expect, she did not want to be in a hurry and she hoped she would return to play as she knew. Losing to Roberta Vinci, after a year of triumph, it was the stimulus that it has again subjected to this painful condition. If she won the US Open she would become the first tennis player after almost 30 years to win the Grand Slam again, results previously achieved only by three other tennis players. Serena Williams has brought this boulder of expectations for the duration of the US Open, then she did not do most upright and she collapsed. She kept saying “I do not feel the pressure,” like a mantra that it can erase the truth whereas this mental approach has allowed only to delay her drama. It would do better to accept the fear of not being able to win despite being currently the most good. It’s not easy to think in this way, when the world thinks that you have to win and it does not consider any other outcome. In those moments, you do not have escape routes because others push you with enthusiasm towards the abyss; the only alternative would have been born of her own: to accept that losing was a possible solution, and that it could happen. If you live in the belief that you cannot lose, you must always correspond to the expectations of others and the demands of her enormous ego, whereas the defeat comes, she does not have tools to understand how this event could have happened, and this generates depression for not having been able to deal with the situation successfully. Depression starts at that time to despise herself. I hope Serena Williams relies on a skilled psychotherapist to help her to understand and better confront herself

The mental coaching for the ultramarathons

  • Il prossimo 28 giugno centinaia di atleti parteciperanno alla 40^ edizione della Pistoia-Abetone. Ad attenderli ci sarà un duro percorso di 50 km. Possiamo dare qualche consiglio su come affrontare al meglio questa gara?

La pazienza è la prima qualità che deve dimostrare di possedere un ultra-maratoneta. All’inizio della gara ci si deve annoiare, nel senso che il ritmo della corsa deve essere facile ma non bisogna cadere nella tentazione di correre più veloce di quello che si è programmato.

  •  In una competizione così lunga sono inevitabili i momenti di crisi. Come è possibile superarli?

Nella corsa di lunga distanza le difficoltà sono inevitabili, quindi la domanda non è tanto “se ci troveremo in difficoltà” ma “quando verrà quel momento cosa devo fare per superarlo”. La risposta non può essere improvvisata in quel momento ma deve essere già pronta, poiché anche in allenamento avremo incontrato difficoltà di quel tipo. Quindi in allenamento: “come mi sono comportato, che cosa ho pensato, quali sensazioni sono andato a cercare dentro di me per uscire da una crisi?”. In gara abbiamo dentro di noi queste risposte, dobbiamo tirarle fuori. Ogni runner in quei momenti deve servirsi della propria esperienza, mettendo a fuoco le immagini e le emozioni che già in passato gli sono state utili.

  • Malgrado le difficoltà e i sacrifici per affrontare una gara di lunga distanza, il popolo dei maratoneti è in aumento. Come si spiega questa tendenza?

La corsa corrisponde a un profondo bisogno dell’essere umano. Infatti noi siamo geneticamente predisposti alla corsa di lunga distanza e più in generale si può affermare che il movimento è vita mentre la sedentarietà è una causa documentata di morte. Sotto questo punto di vista la corsa si è tramutata nelle migliaia di anni in attività necessaria per sopravvivere agli attacchi degli animali e per procacciarsi il cibo in un’attività che viene oggi svolta per piacere e soddisfazione personale. Inoltre, oggi come al tempo dei nostri antenati, la corsa è un fenomeno collettivo, è un’attività che si svolge insieme agli altri. Per l’homo sapiens era un’attività di squadra, svolta dai cacciatori per cacciare gli animali; ai nostri tempi la corsa soddisfa il bisogno di svolgere un’attività all’aria aperta insieme ai propri amici.

  •  Cosa non bisognerebbe mai fare a livello mentale in una competizione sportiva?

Non bisogna mai pensare al risultato ma concentrarsi nel caso della corsa sul proprio ritmo e sulla sensazioni fisiche nelle parti iniziali e finali della gara. Nella fase centrale è meglio avere pensieri non correlati al proprio corpo.

  •  Chi è per lei un campione?

Chiunque sia in grado di soddisfare i propri bisogni è il campione di se stesso e deve essere orgoglioso di avere raggiunto questo obiettivo personale. Quando invece ci riferiamo con questo termine ai top runner, i campioni sono quelli che riescono a mantenere stabili per un determinato periodo di tempo prestazioni che sono oggettivamente al limite superiore delle performance umane nella maratona e che in qualche occasione sono riusciti a superare.

  •  Nella sua esperienza di psicologo al seguito di atleti partecipanti alle Olimpiadi, c’è un ricordo o un aneddoto che le è rimasto nel cuore?

Prima di prove importanti i campioni provano le stesse emozioni di ogni altra persona. Spesso le percepiscono in maniera esagerata, per cui possono essere terrorizzati di quello che li aspetta. La differenza con gli altri atleti è che invece riescono a dominarle e a fornire prestazioni uniche. Ho vissuto questa esperienza per la prima volta ad Atlanta, 1996, in cui un atleta che poi vinse la medaglia d’argento, non voleva gareggiare in finale perché si sentiva stanco ed esausto. Questa stessa situazione l’ho incontrata in altre occasioni ma questi atleti sono sempre riusciti a esprimersi al loro meglio nonostante queste intense espressioni di paura.

  • Analizzando il panorama dell’atletica italiana, si ha la sensazione che i risultati migliori arrivino da atleti anagraficamente non così giovani come ad esempio negli anni Ottanta e che il vivaio di talenti stenti a decollare. Quale interpretazione possiamo dare di questo fenomeno e come evitare l’alta percentuale di drop-out sportivo nell’adolescenza?

Nel libro intitolato “Nati per correre” di A. Finn e dedicato agli atleti keniani vengono prese in considerazioni molte ipotesi sul loro successo emerge con chiarezza che la molla principale risiede nel loro desiderio di avere successo.

“Prendi mia figlia, ha aggiunto, è bravissima nella ginnastica, ma non credo farà la ginnasta. Probabilmente andrà all’università e diventerà medico. Ma un bambino keniano, che non fa altro che scendere al fiume per prendere l’acqua e correre a scuola, non ha molte alternative all’atletica. Certo anche gli altri fattori sono determinanti, ma la voglia di farcela e riscattarsi è la molla principale” (p.239).

  •  Si può affermare che la pratica di uno sport svolga un ruolo di prevenzione rispetto a disturbi mentali quali l’ansia e la depressione?

Lo sport e l’attività fisica promuovono il benessere se vengono svolte come attività del tempo libero e per il piacere di sentirsi impegnati in qualcosa che si vuole liberamente fare.  Al contrario quando vengono svolte allo scopo di fornire prestazioni specifiche possono determinare, come qualsiasi altra attività umana, difficoltà di ordine psicologico e fisico. Direi che vale anche per lo sport e l’attività fisica la stessa regola che è valida per qualsiasi attività umana. Il problema non proviene da cosa si fa: sport agonistico o ricreativo ma da come si fa: crescita e soddisfazione personale o ricerca del risultato a ogni costo e dagli obiettivi del contesto sociale e culturale nel quale queste attività vengono praticate: sviluppare la persona attraverso lo sport o vincere è l’unica cosa che conta.

(From Runners e benessere, Giugno 2015)

Psychoterapy + mindfulness effective as pharmacological therapy for depression

I find it interesting to publish in full the abstract of the article in which it was shown that in the treatment of depression, cognitive behavioral therapy associated with mindfulness produces results similar to those of the pharmacological therapy.

Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy compared with maintenance antidepressant treatment in the prevention of depressive relapse or recurrence (PREVENT): a randomised controlled trial



Individuals with a history of recurrent depression have a high risk of repeated depressive relapse or recurrence. Maintenance antidepressants for at least 2 years is the current recommended treatment, but many individuals are interested in alternatives to medication. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has been shown to reduce risk of relapse or recurrence compared with usual care, but has not yet been compared with maintenance antidepressant treatment in a definitive trial. We aimed to see whether MBCT with support to taper or discontinue antidepressant treatment (MBCT-TS) was superior to maintenance antidepressants for prevention of depressive relapse or recurrence over 24 months.


In this single-blind, parallel, group randomised controlled trial (PREVENT), we recruited adult patients with three or more previous major depressive episodes and on a therapeutic dose of maintenance antidepressants, from primary care general practices in urban and rural settings in the UK. Participants were randomly assigned to either MBCT-TS or maintenance antidepressants (in a 1:1 ratio) with a computer-generated random number sequence with stratification by centre and symptomatic status. Participants were aware of treatment allocation and research assessors were masked to treatment allocation. The primary outcome was time to relapse or recurrence of depression, with patients followed up at five separate intervals during the 24-month study period. The primary analysis was based on the principle of intention to treat. The trial is registered with Current Controlled Trials, ISRCTN26666654.


Between March 23, 2010, and Oct 21, 2011, we assessed 2188 participants for eligibility and recruited 424 patients from 95 general practices. 212 patients were randomly assigned to MBCT-TS and 212 to maintenance antidepressants. The time to relapse or recurrence of depression did not differ between MBCT-TS and maintenance antidepressants over 24 months (hazard ratio 0·89, 95% CI 0·67–1·18; p=0·43), nor did the number of serious adverse events. Five adverse events were reported, including two deaths, in each of the MBCT-TS and maintenance antidepressants groups. No adverse events were attributable to the interventions or the trial.


We found no evidence that MBCT-TS is superior to maintenance antidepressant treatment for the prevention of depressive relapse in individuals at risk for depressive relapse or recurrence. Both treatments were associated with enduring positive outcomes in terms of relapse or recurrence, residual depressive symptoms, and quality of life.

The rugby mindset

Life is good. Said the Italian rugby player Lo Cicero when he left this sport. Others have not been able to say goodbye to rugby till now. Players like O’Driscoll and Wilkinson,  rugby legends, they had all from this sport and they did all for it, and they continue to stay on the field for another year. About the mind of the rugby players read more on: