Medical researchers have long suspected that there is a link between depression and memory loss. Studies involving patients with depression revealed that they often struggled to remember dates and events, suggesting that their condition was affecting their ability to recall these events. While more studies are currently underway to make the link between depression and memory loss, here is what research has found out so far.
Depression is a serious medical condition that affects the way the victim thinks, feels, and how they act. Often, the patient feels sad and loses any interest in things that once brought them pleasure. Depending on the extent of the illness, depression can negatively affect an individual’s ability to work or to function in a productive way. Common symptoms of depression include sleeping too much or not sleeping at all, loss of appetite, or loss of interest in eating right thus leading to uncontrolled weight gain. Chronic sadness and constantly feeling helpless. It is important to note that depression manifests differently in different people. Some people also have mild depression while in some other people, the symptoms may be very obvious. Only a trained medical professional can make a diagnosis when it comes to depression.
There are several conditions associated with memory loss. The first is short-term memory loss that is linked with depression. Research has shown that people with depression struggle with executive functions that revolve around paying attention to tasks that one is undertaking and being able to maintain focus. In fact, studies have shown that even after depression is successfully treated, many victims continue to struggle with these executive functions.
Depression is also known to affect dementia although there is a need for more research in this area. There is a tendency for doctors to mistake short-term memory loss caused by depression with dementia. This often is a diagnosis that is made when doctors are dealing with senior citizens. There have been studies that have shown that people with depression have less gray matter in their brain, a factor that may put one at risk of dementia. However, the link between the two is still not very clear.
Helping Your Loved One
Depression is a complex disease whose causes are still a subject of research. But over the years, scientists have noted a variety of factors that may put your loved one at risk of depression. Stress and anxiety are some of the top factors that may lead to depression. It is important to ensure that your loved one has mechanisms to help cope with stress and to ensure their proper mental health. Social support structures such as family and friends can help reduce anxiety. it is also important to keep your loved ones engaged in activities that bring them a sense of satisfaction. For example, volunteering at their favorite charity or cause can bring a sense of self-actualization and help reduce stress. Bringing them out to take hikes or walks in nature can also help them to feel better emotionally and mentally.