Cognitive Impairments of Depression Fade
> 11/16/2007 1:37:14 PM

Depression darkens outlook and dampens motivation, but this mood disorder can derail more than your emotions; cognitive function often suffers as well. Studies have consistently shown that depression can impair function on memory, fluency, concentration, and decision-making tasks. What hasnít been known is whether these impairments remain even when depression is in remission. In a new study appearing in Depression and Anxiety, a team led by Dr. Wendelien Meren answers this question.

While doctors hoped that antidepressants dispelled cognitive impairments along with sadness, many feared that patients were not fully recovering because they had previously observed some lingering abnormalities. For example, previous studies reported that remitted patients still process frightened facial expressions more quickly. Dr. Meren confirmed this lingering abnormality, and he also found that remitted subjects were less capable of retrieving abstract visual information from long-term memory. This very narrow test was the only one to show a lingering impairment. An extensive battery of tests revealed that patients who were responding even moderately well to antidepressants had no other cognitive deficiencies.

This finding should give hope to those struggling with depression. While the darkness may seem unending, there is a way out of both the sadness and the mental clouding. In addition to giving patients hope, this light at the end of the tunnel should convince employers that offering depression treatment is economical as well as moral. An untreated worker cost dozens of hours in lost productivity in a year, but their concentration as well as their mental faculties can be recovered so that they once again make a valuable contribution to the company.


I recently completed a full length book about memory and the human mind. The book is called Disco Hypnotic. More information can be found at Any comments or review would be most appreciated.
Posted by: chicagopoetry 11/17/2007 2:54:09 AM

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