Depression Memory Loss Facts and Myths
The reason why memory loss has never been appreciated in the past because the major focus was always on other symptoms of depression. However, today it is appreciated that depressed patients can have a variety of memory problems which include forgetting common things, have troubling remembering, difficulty making decisions or organizing heir thought. While scientists have speculated that they may be neurotransmitter changes in the brain, the exact role of these transmitters not understood nor is it known which neurotransmitter in directly associated with memory loss.
Many depressed individuals indicate that they have great difficulty remembering things of the distant past; and when they do remember the events are skewed. The other aspect of depression is that they can only remember negative events of the past and not the good memories. This negatively reinforces the depression and fuels the cycle of memory loss.
Individuals with memory loss and depression develop poor coordination of their memory. Both attention span and concentration are altered in depressed individuals. For example one may forget the address where one lives and the next day he/she may even forget how to get to their home. Depressed individuals also become quite inattentive and confused about every day events in life. The hallmark of memory loss in depressed patient is that enduring memory is not formed. It appears that in depression only select memory is stored and the rest of events are displaced or erased from memory storage pools.
Memory loss due to depression can present with difficulty making decisions, lack of concentration or remembering things which were once familiar. Focusing becomes difficult and no new memory is formed during periods of depression.
So far there is no obvious structural problems have been visualized in patients with depression. The latest brain imaging technology have now allowed researchers to study pathways which may be linked to depression and memory.
Current studies show that brain cell activity in the front part of the brain is often decreased in depression. The chemical which appears to play a role in both depression and memory appears to be serotonin. In animal studies, it appears that when drugs which increase levels of noradrenalin and serotonin are increased, memory levels also increase. Serotonin is known to regulate blood flow to areas the brain involved in depression and it appears that.
Individuals with depression are felt to have low levels of serotonin which may explain the reduced activity. Moreover, serotonin nerves play a role in memory and pleasurable behavior. The latest anti depressants like the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors boost arousal and improve memory as they make more of this neurotransmitter available.
The prognosis for memory loss during depression is good. With treatment, the depression memory loss slows down and one starts to remember a lot more.
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