World Health Day is celebrated today, April 7. This year’s theme focuses on raising awareness for depression and serves as an opportunity to re-think approaches to mental health. At NeuronUP, we approach this disorder by analyzing the cognitive symptoms of depression , so that people suffering from this disorder are encouraged to ask for help and can start a neurorehabilitation program as soon as possible.
The cognitive symptoms of depression
When thinking about people with this disorder, we usually think about their emotional symptoms: sadness, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, indifference, discouragement, and insomnia. But the truth is that these are not the only problems they have to face. People suffering from depression often complain of difficulty concentrating, being easily distracted, being unable to carry out everyday tasks, and being forgetful. The fact is that depression is associated with a decrease in cognitive functions such as attention, concentration, memory, decision making, planning, use of vocabulary, etc.
These cognitive symptoms can have very negative consequences since people with depression areunable to perform their jobs adequately, do well in school or perform their normal activities of daily living.
During a depressive episode, patients suffer cognitive symptoms more than 80% of the time and more than 40% of the time in-between episodes.
Patients with depression have difficultystaying focused while performing tasks that require sustained mental effort and information processing.
People suffering from this disorder have trouble with short- and long-term memory.
Executive functions are complex cognitive processes necessary for planning, organizing, guiding, revising, regulating, and evaluating behavior necessary to adapt effectively to the environment and to achieve goals (Bauermeister, 2008).Depressed patients show deficits in executive functions such as planning, working memory or decision making.
It is vital to understand that depression can affect cognitive functioning therefore people with this disorder should see a professional in order to undergo cognitive rehabilitation programs focused on improving attention, memory, and executive functions.
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