Memory Loss Due To Depression: What Is It?

Memory loss due to depression: what is it?

Memory loss due to depression is obvious. The depressed brain disconnects us from reality and pulls us away like a drifting boat. He’s dragging us into his neurochemical storm. It locks us in a cave where the outside world becomes tottering and indefinite, where it is difficult to maintain concentration, to remember, to react, to think …

We almost instantly visualize a person lying on the couch or in bed with the blinds down when we talk about depression. We associate this psychological disorder with stillness, discouragement and vulnerability. However,  depression is often “portable”. Indeed, thousands of people face their daily responsibilities with this invisible wound that interferes in almost any field or activity.

Depression goes beyond a specific emotional state. This condition corresponds to internal disorder, physical exhaustion,  reluctance, apathy. Despair settles in the mind like a Trojan horse. More so, it deteriorates cognitive functioning. This last aspect is undoubtedly relevant even if we do not talk about it often. However, it is essential to take it into account in order to constitute a more comprehensive, adapted and sensitive therapeutic approach.

person in depression

Memory loss due to depression, what happens to me?

Difficulty understanding the indications and even more difficult to provide. Problems understanding what we hear or read. Having someone’s name on the tip of your tongue without remembering it. Staying empty while driving without remembering where we were going. Perceive that others get mad at us because we don’t pay attention to them while they are talking. Live more and more misunderstandings with those around us because we are not able to concentrate, to remember what they tell us to make simple inferences, etc  .

As we see, there is more to memory loss due to depression than just forgetting. It is living shrouded in a mental fog, where everything seems too far away or too diffuse to attract attention and understand what is happening, where we are, what is being asked of us. All this generates discomfort, social incomprehension and, even worse, aggravates the feeling of depression.

Why is this happening? Why are all these exhausting processes happening?

“Accelerated” neurons

Stress is also another factor that promotes the risk of depression. The feeling of threat, fear, pressure, feeling of alert, anxiety… All these dimensions promote the release of glucocorticoids, the most common being cortisol.

A brain governed by the impact of cortisol works differently. Neurons are “accelerated” and promote well-known processes such as rumination, worry, haunting thoughts… Something very graphic is happening with this hyperactivity. These cells “disconnect” to reduce this over-activation, exhaustion and even neuronal death. 

Information ceases to be transmitted with such agility. Things are forgotten, memory weakens and the brain suddenly slows down to go into “pause” mode.

brain of a depressed person

The hippocampus shrinks in size

Memory loss due to depression also has its origins in a very specific brain structure: the hippocampus. This region, among other functions, is responsible for memory storage. As surprising as it may seem, this area is most affected by the effect of cortisol. It is almost like a target where all the toxicity of glucocorticoids ends. In the event that the depression becomes chronic or if we experience recurring episodes, its size will be smaller and smaller.

I l Tradit however to note that the hippocampus ent is one of these structures characterized by high plasticity. It can return to its original size through therapy, memory exercises and appropriate cognitive strategies. Our attention, our memories, etc., will be improved.

Dopaminergic circuits

Anhedonia characterizes people with depression. This psychological disorder causes us to lose the ability to enjoy the simplest things, to experience interest, pleasure, motivation, energy to start something new, to leave our home, to undertake , to log in …

Dopaminergic circuits are responsible for “rewarding” us for this sort of thing. For those activities that the brain considers positive. In contrast, a depressed brain is an organ where dopamine no longer works effectively. So that everything changes, everything is altered. We lose motivation. Moreover, a deficit of this neurotransmitter also implies the appearance of alterations in the serotoninergic, glutamatergic, opioid and endocannabinoid system …

If all of these neurochemical systems and processes are not functioning properly,  we lose the curiosity, the ability to pay attention, the agility to learn, store new data and retrieve it, to make effective decisions. ..

woman in depression

What can we do ?

Memory loss due to depression is a fact. However, each person will experience it in a particular way. We know, for example,  that cognitive deficit is recoverable through cognitive therapy, exercises, support groups, etc.,  in cases of mild to moderate depression.

In the most serious cases, however, a multidisciplinary strategy is necessary. The pharmacological approach is thus associated with psychological therapies,  therapies focused on the work of memory and even with food supplements based on magnesium and vitamins of group B. We must not neglect the importance of having support from our environment. Understanding, closeness and sensitivity to the person with depression is essential.


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