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Does Depression Cause Memory Loss

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Anxiety Is A Sh*thead

Does Depression Cause Memory Loss?

As well as messing with your neurochemistry and reducing your hours-to-winks-caught ratio, anxiety has found a whole bunch of ways to screw with your memory.

24/7 worrying is a big slice of the anxiety pie, and it leaves little room for other thoughts. For example, hypervigilance about an upcoming review at work could make you space that its your partners birthday in 2 weeks.

Hypervigilance may make your brain not great at retaining and recalling information that doesnt relate to your personal anxiety focus. Plus, theres the perpetual-motion-like way anxiety can sustain itself in your mind. Many folks with anxiety start getting anxious about their anxiety, leading to a state of Anxiety-ception.

Memory loss is scary because it can point to serious brain conditions. Its not uncommon for memory loss and confusion to become an anxiety trigger or focus. Your anxiety leads to memory loss, which leads to anxiety about memory loss, which leads to more memory loss and more anxiety.

Not nice at all.

The Nature Of Depression Memory Loss

Memory loss is a complex problem. Depending on the illness at work in the brain, people can experience different deficits. Depression memory loss typically involves:

  • Difficulty recalling details, such as remembering that friends came over for dinner but having no recollection of what you ate
  • Problems with prospective memory, which involves planning and remembering to complete the plans struggles with this type of memory explain why forgetting to take daily medication isnt unusual for people with depression

Depression typically affects short-term memory. Memories of the past are often left as complete as they were before depression hit. Also, depression causes frustrating and stressful experiences in daily life such as losing keys and other objects, remembering where you parked your car, or recalling what you just read.

While everyone has this type of memory loss from time to time, its a regular occurrence in depression that can significantly disrupt life. Because of this memory loss, people often describe an inability to function well. Memory loss and feeling unable to function can deepen depression, which in turn can worsen memory problems.

Understanding what is happening in the brain when you have depression can help you be less hard on yourself for your memory issues.

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But when I took a moment to think about those times when my anxiety and OCD were particularly bad, I was struck by the fact that yes, I do struggle to remember some stuff. A lot of things, in fact. Of course, I can remember how bad my anxiety was, and how it felt to be wired 24/7 Im pretty sure those moments will be imprinted on my brain forever but when it comes to the day-to-day, life-y moments from back then, I often draw a blank.

After speaking to my friends, family and colleagues about this, I realised I wasnt the only one whose mental health had affected their memories. So, why does this happen? And if so, is there anything we can do about it?

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When To Seek Professional Help

Its a good idea to seek professional advice if you notice symptoms interfering with your ability to function for more than 2 weeks. If youre concerned about depression and memory loss or impairment, thats also a good enough reason to talk with a healthcare professional.

There are memory tests designed to measure the fitness of your memory, as well as other cognitive processes. Your healthcare provider can evaluate you for impairment and look for conditions that impact memory and cognition.

Sleep Quality Is A Significant Factor In Memory Retrieval

Chemotherapy And Memory Loss / Memory loss stock photo ...

Depression causes memory loss making your body fatigued and unable to concentrate on tasks, even simple ones. It also affects sleep quality, making it difficult to fall asleep during the usual time.

In worse conditions, depression can be accompanied by severe insomnia. Sleep disruption patterns have adverse effects on your memory.

Ironically, depression can also make you sleep too much. This may also negatively impact your body and memory.

Health experts recommend sleep to adults for at least 8 hours for normal functioning of their cognitive system. Therefore, having a sleep cycle of fewer than eight hours will affect the central nervous systems making it hard for you to concentrate.

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How Depressive Episodes Impact The Brain

To understand how depression can impact memory, we must first understand what happens in the brain during a depressive episode. When an individual experiences a depressive episode, their body experiences a stress response, which releases a hormone called cortisol. Too much cortisol in the brain represses the growth of new brain cells in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a section of the brain that regulates memory formation. It helps the brain develop, organize, and store memories. When left unmanaged, this excess release of cortisol can cause the hippocampus to shrink.

Research suggests that the stress response activated by depressive episodes may affect memory. This temporary disruption in cognitive function can present itself as a characteristic of depression. Although not a diagnosis of dementia, when this memory is impaired due to depression it is often referred to as pseudodementia, or dementia of depression.

Researchers in a2013 studydiscovered that participants with depression were unable to identify objects on a screen that were similar or identical to an object they had previously viewed. Similarly, researchers in a2016 studydetermined that when depressive thoughts are part of depressed persons conscious experience, cognitive short term deficits can arise. By treating depression, patients generally find relief from symptoms including forgetfulness, difficulty with memory, and concentration.

How To Cope With Memory Loss

Memory loss due to depression is usually treated with regular counseling or antidepressant therapy. An active lifestyle and community involvement can also improve your mood, treat depression and bring you towards a healthy life. If things are getting out of hand, then you can also consider help from your family doctor. Do consider joining a support group as well.

There are also drugs that can improve memory loss in people with Alzheimer’s disease or other neurological disorders.

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How Does Depression Affect Memory

Depression causes many unpleasant symptoms and memory loss is one of the lesser known of them. Find out why this happens and what you can do about it

If you are suffering from depression you probably expect to feel sad, hopeless or tearful. But finding it also affects your memory might come as a nasty surprise. Yet researchers are in agreement that depression can lead to memory loss, so why exactly does this happen?

Is There Anything You Can Do About Anxiety And Depression

Depression Can Cause Memory Loss and Difficulty Concentrating

While it may not be possible to retrieve memories that werent stored in the first place due to distraction, for example, the impact anxiety and depression has on memory function itself is usually reversible, Dr Jordan says.

The impact of anxiety and depression on memory seems to be reversible, at least if the episodes dont go on for too long without treatment, she explains.

Not treating anxiety or depressive disorders can, over years, lead to many negative health outcomes. So, its important to seek treatment if you are struggling with either.

While its interesting to learn about the ways in which anxiety and depression can impair memory, its also comforting to know that any impact on the brains ability to function, while scary, is most likely reversible.

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Memory Problems: What Causes Memory Loss & Forgetfulness

850,000 people in the UK are currently living with dementia. Unfortunately, this condition, caused by Alzheimers Disease, is set to increase rapidly: It is estimated that over one million people will have dementia by 2025, and by 2050 this will double to two million.

Alzheimers disease is a condition which tends to affect people later in life, however, more than 42,000 people under the age of 65 are living with dementia in the UK. If youre a bit forgetful, theres no need to panic everyone forgets things from time to time. As we age, experiencing mild cognitive impairment is quite normal it takes longer for the brain to recall information and becomes more difficult to retain information. If youre having trouble recalling and remembering things, there is a chance it could be Alzheimers, but its also possible that there is an alternative reason behind your memory problems.

What To Do If You’re Blue

If you have any signs of depression , the first step should be to see your doctor or a psychiatrist. Yet many people avoid getting diagnosed because of the stigma depression still holds for older adults. “Older people still have the idea that, I’m not crazy. I don’t want people to think I’m crazy,'” Dr. Cremens says.

“If somebody appears to have the beginnings of dementia and they are depressed, it’s very important to treat their depression, and to treat it as aggressively as possible,” she adds.

The treatment for depression at any age usually involves a combination of antidepressant medicines, talk therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy .

“I think older women who are depressed should also be evaluated for dementia,” Dr. Cremens says. Screening tests such as the Mini-Mental State Exam and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment are short questionnaires your doctor can use to pick up on cognitive impairment early.

Although there isn’t any real method to prevent dementia, you may be able to reduce your risk by not only treating depression, but by also following healthy lifestyle habits such as exercising, eating a healthy diet, and keeping your mind active with social outings and games. Knowing you’re at high risk for dementia can also help you and your family prepare for it, so it won’t be as much of a shock down the road.

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How To Diagnose Memory Loss

Image Source: TheDepressionProject

When you visit an expert to find out why your memory is so bad, they may ask you to undergo a physical examination. With that, he may also ask you questions like:

  • Since when are you experiencing memory loss?
  • Have you found yourself stressed, depressed or clouded with thoughts?
  • Did you start taking new medications?
  • How often do you drink alcohol?
  • Were you ill recently or met with an accident?
  • If your sleep and work cycle has changed in recent times?

Along with these questions, he may also perform electroencephalograms to find out the brains activity. If required, blood test, MRI or reference to a psychiatrist could also be done.

Can Depression Cause Confusion

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Depression can cause confusion and make it challenging to focus on tasks.

While taking a closer look at the brain regions associated with depression, it is believed that the hippocampus, the area of the brain associated with memory and learning, is actually smaller.

Although this is not necessarily a direct cause-and-effect explanation, it may be one factor that helps explain why depression leads to confusion and poor memory.

The prefrontal cortex and amygdala are also affected. The combination of changes in these brain structures and associated functions helps explain issues with cognition, including planning and reasoning, as well as emotional processing.

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The Link Between Depression And Memory Loss

Dealing with depression can be a very overwhelming experience. There is a lot of emotional pain that you may be experiencing. You may be overwhelmed with grief, sadness, shame or guilt and you may even feel hopeless. On top of that, there are many physical symptoms of depression that you could be experiencing such as headaches, chronic pain, fatigue, and digestion problems. But, there’s also another side effect of depression that many people are unfamiliar with. There’s been found to be links between depression and memory loss.

Memory Loss And Medication

Medication can affect our memory. If we recognise that our memory deteriorated when we started a new medication or changed the dose of an existing one, then its advisable to chat with our doctor. We should never stop a medication or change our dose without medical advice because it can be really dangerous .

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Depression Memory Loss And Concentration

Are you feeling forgetful and having trouble focusing? These symptoms of depression can affect your ability to get things done. Find out how to improve your memory and concentration.

Memory loss and an inability to focus may not seem like obvious symptoms of depression but they are more connected than most people realize.

Research has suggested that processing speed the ability to take in information quickly and efficiently is impaired in individuals who are depressed,” explains Natascha Santos, PsyD, a psychologist and behavior therapist in Great Neck, N.Y. Many areas of the brain are involved with the creation and retrieval of memories. Irregularities in any of these areas, including those that create depression symptoms, can affect how you process memories and also influence your ability to concentrate.

Depression and Concentration: The Far-Reaching Effects

At first, depression-based memory loss and difficulty focusing may just be mildly annoying, but these types of cognitive defects can become quite serious over time and result in a diminished level of functioning in many capacities:

Overcoming Depression Memory Loss

Depression and Concentration: Helpful Tips and Tricks

As you look to strategies to resolve depression memory loss, these tips can ease the impact of poor memory and concentration on your day-to-day life:

Depression And Memory Loss

Can Anxiety and Depression Cause Memory Loss?

Posted on July 20, 2021 by Cheryl K, LCSW, CEO, Co-founder and Partner

In the United States, an estimated 17.3 million people experience depression each year.

Although depression has a major impact on your health and quality of life, it also affects brain function more specifically, cognition. Shown to diminish decision-making, memory, and higher-reasoning, symptoms of depression can hinder daily life. However, these symptoms are highly treatable.

When you receive the help you need, memory loss and other symptoms related to depression will no longer be your norm. You can live a happier, healthier life, heres how.

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Memory Loss Cause # 5 Depression And Anxiety

Serious clinical depression or sorrow can in some cases create lapse of memory as well as amnesia, along with generally impacting your capacity to concentrate. Feelings of despair, severe sorrow at the loss of a liked one, and also other psychological injury can result in feeling out of touch, or in a fog and also failing to remember small details..

Anxiousness affects between 3% and also 15% of older adults, according to Mental Health America, as well as recent research studies show that 2.2% of seniors report major emotional distress throughout the 30 days prior to the study. Those aged 45-65 reported distress 4.4% of the moment, as well as also report a high level of anxiousness. There are numerous distressing signs and symptoms of stress and anxiety, including:.

Chest discomforts.Lightheadedness.Concern of dying.

There are many reasons a person can become distressed, from household troubles, life adjustments, money problems, and health worries. No matter the factor behind your stress and anxiety, there are a variety of ways you can handle your challenging sensations in the house, and also options for when depression and anxiety become hard to cope with:.

How To Seek Help For Memory Loss Associated With Depression

If youre experiencing symptoms of depression, including forgetfulness, or if youve been diagnosed with depression and notice signs of memory loss, talk to your doctor. They may recommend a treatment option that is not associated with memory loss, like TMS. and find out if TMS is right for you.

If youre struggling with managing the symptoms of depression, consider counseling or talk therapy. Connecting with a trained healthcare professional can help patients cope with depressive symptoms, including memory loss and forgetfulness.


1. Moica T, Gligor A, Moica S. The Relationship between Cortisol and the Hippocampal Volume in Depressed Patients A MRI Pilot Study. Procedia Technology. 2016 22:1106-1112. Accessed July 30, 2020.

2. Henry A, Katsoulis M, Masi S, Fatemifar G, Denaxas S, Acosta D, Garfield V, Dale CE. The relationship between sleep duration, cognition and dementia: a Mendelian randomization study. Int J Epidemiol. 2019 48:849-860. Accessed July 29, 2020.

3. Sleeping for too little or too long linked to poorer memory. Published June 05, 2019. Accessed July 29, 2020.

9. 1958 National Child Development Study. Centre for Longitudinal Studies. Accessed July 30, 2020.

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Depression And The Hippocampus

Researchers in 2015 concluded that people with depression had lower hippocampus volume a key brain area devoted to memory.

They found this effect in people with recurrent depressive episodes, but not first-time episodes. The effect was stronger in people with early onset depression .

The researchers also point out that studies have linked depression to changes in the size of your amygdala, a brain region that deals with emotion.

One theory to explain these depression-related cognitive changes is that stress-induced chemical reactions may lead to a loss of neurons the nerves that carry information in the brain and suppressed growth of new neurons.

Panic Attacks And Memory Loss

Depression and Memory Loss: Does Depression Cause ...

Some people who have panic attacks find it difficult to recall what happened just before or during an attack. Panic-related memory loss can happen for some of the same reasons that general anxiety leads to memory loss.

Panic attacks brief episodes of extreme fear are a type of anxiety. They come on quickly, often without warning, triggering symptoms that can feel overwhelming and terrifying:

  • difficulty breathing or feelings of choking
  • pounding or racing heart
  • numbness, tingling, or blurred vision
  • feeling of doom
  • feeling of losing control

Some people having a panic attack might believe theyre dying or having a heart attack. You might feel totally preoccupied by these unpleasant feelings, lose track of time, and think about nothing except getting through the attack.

Afterward, you might recall the intense panic vividly, but you might not recall exactly how you made it through.

If youve had a panic attack before, you might also worry about having one again, especially when you find yourself in a situation that triggers feelings of worry or fear. When this increase in anxiety occupies your focus, you might also notice some memory trouble.

Memory loss can happen for plenty of reasons.

A few of the other potential causes include:

  • regular alcohol or substance use
  • side effects of certain prescription medications

Even when you live with anxiety, other concerns can contribute to memory loss, so its important to monitor your difficulty remembering things.

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