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Sometimes, it is difficult to get out of bed. Under the fog of depression, daily tasks are just tedious, they can seem purposeless. Moving through routines is a struggle. Happy things appear mute, and bad news sounds even worse. Depression affects how people feel. But it can also change how they think. When I see patients, they complain of memory problems, says Carrie Holmberg, postdoc in Psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University who studies mood disorder. Patients may have trouble finding their keys or retaining information theyve read in a book. People often point to just not being able to function as well. These anecdotal reports reflect a growing body of research showing that depression can affect memory and cognition in diverse and surprising ways. Depressed people have trouble remembering fine details of events theyve experience. General experiences, like vacation, come to mind easily but not specifics, like enjoyable meals from vacation. People prospective memory, or remembering to carry out planned activity in the future, also suffer from depression. It is harder to remember to return library book or take daily medication. While details and prospective memories take a hit, there is no trouble recalling bad memories. Healthy, non - depressed people usually have better memory of positive events than neutral or negative events, says Daniel Dillon, assistant professor of Psychiatry at Harvard University. Meanwhile, depressed people have stronger recall of bad memories. In Depressed folks, people think negative memory improves, but really, positive bias has decrease, Dillon say. Its obvious to people, and more obvious in clinical interview, you have this dominant negative recall. In 2014, researchers examined negative cognition in people who were formerly depressed and groups who never had depression. People who previously had depression were better at remembering negative adjectives from selection of words than group who had never been depress. Scientists conducting research in 2007 examined the role of positive memory in mood regulation, finding that depressed people's moods worsen when encouraged to recall happy memories. When people who were formerly depressed recall happy memories, their sad moods do not change. The brain may reveal some clues about depression hold over memory. The area of the brain dealing with learning and memory hippocampus is sensitive to stress, and tends to be smaller in people with depression. Diminish hippocampal volume could explain poor recollection, Dillon say. In addition, ruminative thoughts characteristic of disorder could make it hard for people to concentrate on other tasks. Rumination, or fixating on upsetting situations or events, occupies neural resources that the brain could spend on other things, like memory. Those findings may not PROVIDE the full picture. The Small hippocampus does explain the emotional component of memory problems. There is no reason it would disrupt positive memories, explains Dillon. What's more, some people prone to depression may have smaller hippocampi before developing disease. We still have poor functional understanding of what is going on with memory and depression, says Dillon.
Other reasons you may experience memory loss can include the following: normal age - related memory loss is common and manageable. One example of this is forgetting where you put your glasses but remembering later in the day. Alzheimer's Disease is the most common form of Dementia. It can cause progressive, irreparable brain damage and memory loss. Mild cognitive impairment can alter thinking skills and eventually progress to Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of Dementia. Minor head injury or trauma can trigger slight memory problems, even if you do lose consciousness. Forgetfulness is a potential side effect of certain medications. Brain tumors or brain infections can affect your memory or trigger Dementia - like symptoms. Vitamin B - 12 deficiency can create problems with your memory. This is because youre not maintaining healthy nerve cells and red blood cells. Alcoholism or drug abuse can impair your mental state and abilities. This can also occur when alcohol interacts with medications. Hypothyroidism slows your metabolism, which can lead to memory problems and other issues with thinking. Brain or nerve damage caused by diseases such as Parkinsons Disease or multiple sclerosis can cause memory problems. A 2013 study found that people with depression have a greater risk of developing Parkinsons Disease. Electroconvulsive therapy can cause memory loss. Ect alters brain chemistry, which can reverse symptoms of depression and other mental illnesses. If you have ECT, your doctor will perform it while youre under general anesthesia. During ECT, your doctor sends small electric currents through your brain, triggering a brief seizure. People can experience confusion and short - term memory loss after receiving ECT treatments.
Treatment for memory loss depends on the cause. In many cases, it may be reversible with treatment. For example, memory loss from medications may be resolved with a change in medication. Nutritional supplements can be useful against memory loss caused by nutritional deficiency. And treating depression may be helpful for memory when depression is a factor. In some cases - such as following stroke - therapy may help people remember how to do certain tasks such as walking or tying shoes. In others, memory may improve over time. Treatments may also be specific to conditions related to memory loss. For example, drugs are available to treat memory problems related to Alzheimer's disease, and drugs to help lower blood pressure can help reduce the risk of more brain damage from dementia related to high blood pressure.
If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from Depression: persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism, Irritability Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness, Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities decrease energy or fatigue Moving or talking more slowly Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions Difficulty sleeping, early - morning awakening, or oversleeping Appetite and / or weight changes Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without clear physical cause and / or that do not ease even with treatment not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms, while others may experience many. Several persistent symptoms in addition to low mood are required for diagnosis of Major Depression, but people with only few but distressing symptoms may benefit from treatment of their subsyndromal Depression. The severity and frequency of symptoms and how long they last will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness. Symptoms may also vary depending on stage of illness.
Memory loss is not solely bedfellow of dementia. It can also be a natural part of the aging process, however unwelcome. Memory problems also occur in people experiencing emotional distress, particularly individuals facing conditions that may include depression. For instance, study appearing last year in the journal Neurology found that people who were exhibiting noticeable symptoms of depression also had poor episodic memory, type of memory that recalls specific events. Recently, researchers from Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada have been working hard to develop new compounds able to reverse memory loss that they believe relate to depression and age progression. Currently, there are no medications to treat cognitive symptoms such as memory loss that occur in depression, other mental illnesses, and aging, notes study author Dr. Etienne Sibille. However, new compounds that researchers have tested in preclinical trials appear to reverse memory loss quickly, plus fix underlying brain mechanisms that cause these problems in the first place. Dr. Sibille and colleagues conducted a series of studies to find the right compounds and reach their current conclusions. They have published findings of their most recent study in the journal Molecular Neuropsychiatry. Team also presented their work earlier this week at the American Association for Advancement of Science Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.
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