A branch of traditional Chinese medicine, based on the insertion and manipulation of fine needles at various points in the body for therapeutic purposes.


Medications which help to improve the symptoms of depression by acting on the neurotransmitters (chemical substances in the brain).

Baseline treatment:

Any treatment followed regularly to slow down or curb the progress of an illness, or prevent the exacerbation of certain symptoms.


Relating to cognition; i.e., the primary mental functions (perception, language, memory, reasoning, decision, movement…).


Any harmful attachment to a substance or activity. Conduct based on the repeated, uncontrollable desire to consume the substance, despite the individual’s will and attempts to stop.

Depressive episode:

Period in which an individual shows depressive symptoms. Depression is an illness which generally presents with the onset of symptoms, which are present for shorter or longer periods of time, sometimes interrupted by periods of remission. Periods during which depressive symptoms are present are therefore known as depressive episodes.

Essential fatty acids:

Substances that help the body to function. They are produced by plants and cannot be produced by the human body.


A chemical substance which acts as a “messenger.” Hormones are transported throughout the body and can therefore act on cells remote from their production site.


A disorder characterized by excessive amounts of deep sleep. Those affected find it difficult to get up in the morning and are fatigued throughout the day without necessarily being very sleepy.


An impulse-conduction nerve cell constituting the basic functional unit of the nervous system. Neurons transmit a bioelectric signal known as nervous influx. Neurons have two physiological properties: excitability (the ability to respond to stimuli, converting them into nervous impulses) and conductivity (the ability to transmit impulses).


Substances continuously produced by the brain which carry information between neurons. The neurotransmitters affected by depression are norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin.


An organic compound which acts as a neurotransmitter. It is primarily released by the nerve fibres in the nervous system and acts as a neurotransmitter at the effector organs. It is involved in attention, emotions, sleep, dreaming and learning.


A specialized physician who has completed his or her general medical education followed by at least five years of additional accredited training on mental illnesses and their treatments. Psychiatrists are also members of a professional body which authorizes them to practise. As physicians, they are qualified to prescribe medications, examinations and care, and to write medical certificates.

Psychiatrists can also recommend psychotherapy, either with themselves or with another professional.


A healthcare professional who has studied psychology at university and has at minimum a master’s degree in psychology. Psychologists are also members of a professional body which authorizes them to practise. They are qualified to complete a personality workup using tests and in-depth questioning. They conduct clinical interviews and may also perform psychotherapy.


Of or pertaining to both sensory acquisition and motor control.

Psychomotor agitation:

Increased, purposeless motor activity that is difficult to control (inability to sit still, uncontrollable need to keep moving, pacing, etc.).

Psychomotor impairment:

Abnormally slowed-down reaction and execution times with no neurological or other origin.


Active treatment by psychological means. Psychotherapy is a technique involving “healing through the mind,” which requires meetings between the professional and the person who wishes to receive the treatment. Psychotherapy is designed for people of all ages: children, adolescents, adults and seniors and for couples and families as well.


A neurotransmitter substance in the brain that is involved in the regulation of such functions as feeding and sexual behaviour, the wake-sleep cycle, pain, anxiety and motor control.


The site of functional apposition between two neurons or between a neuron and another cell (e.g., muscle cells, sensory receptors).