We often associate depression with feelings of hopelessness, low mood, and tiredness. However, there is a lesser-known side effect of depression that is becoming prominent over time. A depressed person often experiences memory problems like feeling more forgetful than usual.
Though memory problems are not discussed as widely as other symptoms, up to three in five people suffering from depression have reported having experienced mild to severe memory problems.
How and When Does Memory Problems Occur?
Memory problems can occur when depression first begins. Experts are even marking memory problems as an early sign of depression. It is often known to persist, and even increase, even when other depressive symptoms have developed. Typically, the working memory is affected. It is the short-term memory we use to actively remember things from one moment to another. Any problems with the working memory make it difficult to make decisions or concentrate on our daily jobs.
The severity of memory problems due to depression can vary from one person to another. However, research shows that cognitive impairments are smaller in the first episodes of depression, while worst cases have been seen with severe depressive symptoms and repetitive episodes of low mood. These effects often tend to last even when there are few or no symptoms of depression.
How to Effectively Deal with Memory Problems?
According to experts, exercise is one of the most effective solutions for enhancing working memory and getting rid of any problems associated with it. Exercise helps release brain messengers, including dopamine and serotonin while increasing activation in the brain’s cortex. All these increase the growth of new neurons and brain plasticity – leading towards good memory.
Talking therapies also result in increased activation in the prefrontal cortex, thereby enhancing flexibility and responsiveness. There are several cognitive training programs including games, that can improve working memory.
Lastly, it is vital to identify the problem at the right stage. It is easy to overlook memory problems as it is a lesser-known symptom of depression. However, dealing with it at an early stage will not only help improve the treatment procedure but also prevent a recurrence.