While depression means being in a low mood, tired, and feeling hopeless, depression can also mean being more forgetful than usual. To avoid any further cognitive impairments from occurring, seek treatment for depression to make sure you have lasting memories going forward.
Memory Problems with Depression
Memory problems tend to occur when depression first begins, and even your other depressive symptoms improve. Our working memory tends to be affected, which is the short-term memory that helps us remember things from moment to moment. Problems with working memory can make it hard to concentrate or make decisions. The severity of memory problems can vary from person to person. Usually, the more severe the depression symptoms are, the worse memory problems you may have.
Changes in Brain Structure and Function
The prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala are brain regions responsible for cognition, executive functioning, and emotional processing. These regions send and receive messages from each other, meaning a problem in one region can impact another. The neural circuits responsible for cognition and emotional processing are linked with those that control our stress response systems. This can make periods of high stress impair cognitive function and worsen mood. People who have a smaller hippocampus may make asking to remember specific letters difficult for them. These regions need to recruit additional brain regions to perform at the same level as participants without depression. Changes with brain messenger systems may be less able to communicate with each other, affecting our memory.
How to Fix Your Working Memory
There are still many things you can do to get your memory back to normal such as exercising. Exercise releases brain messengers like serotonin and dopamine as well as increases activation in the brain’s cortex. This will increase the growth of new neurons and brain plasticity for the brain to grow. Therapy can also increase activation in the prefrontal cortex, which is linked with improved responsiveness and flexibility. Cognitive exercises or games can also improve working memory and attention. Antidepressants can also bring improvements in planning, decision-making, and reasoning. Memory problems can affect our work performance and relationships with other people. If you are experiencing depressive symptoms that are too hard to handle, seek treatment to have a healthy working memory.
Memory is an important quality to have to succeed in work and our relationships. Untreated depression can cause you to have bad memory problems, affecting other cognitive skills like decision-making and concentration. At Alta Loma, we understand the importance of memory and treating depressive symptoms. We want you to have lasting memories at our facility. Our transformative treatment center in Georgetown, Texas, can offer you individualized therapy, medication management, therapeutic recreational activities, life and coping skills education, a long-term continuum of care, and much more. Please call us at (866) 457-3843 to learn more about our services.