How does depression affect attention and learning

Psychiatry, Psychosomatics & Psychotherapy

13.01.2017

Difficulty concentrating and forgetfulness also possible with depression

Depression can be accompanied by cognitive impairments such as concentration disorders or attention deficits, which make coping with professional and private everyday life, in addition to the other symptoms of the disease, an enormous challenge.

Depression is typically associated with depression, self-doubt, and decreased drive, which can be a significant burden for those affected. It is far less well known that the mental illness can also cause cognitive impairments, such as impaired concentration and impaired memory. “Depressed people mostly suffer from negative thoughts, a persistently depressed mood as well as despair, hopelessness and apathy. These symptoms alone are already very stressful. Often, however, there are also cognitive limitations such as reduced concentration or a lack of attention, which make coping with everyday professional and private life an enormous challenge, ”reports Dr. Christa Roth-Sackenheim, from the Professional Association of German Psychiatrists (BVDP) based in Krefeld. “During a depressive episode, there can be a general cognitive slowdown and an inhibition of thinking. This makes it particularly difficult for those affected to plan things, make decisions or set personal goals. The way of life can be impaired in all areas and those affected regularly experience frustrating situations that contribute to the perpetuation of the disease. ”Many depressed people are not even aware that the disease-related cognitive impairments can have massive effects. In addition to problems in everyday professional life, the restrictions can also be far-reaching in private togetherness, because appointments and maintaining social contacts can quickly become an overwhelming situation. If the disease is left untreated, the situation can worsen for those with the disease.

Accept and address problems

Depressive illness leads to severe changes in experience and behavior and in the vast majority of cases requires professional treatment. “It is important that those affected have the courage to speak openly about their condition with their doctor, but also with their family members and their partner. Friends or relatives should then motivate the person to seek professional help, ”advises the psychiatrist and psychotherapist from Andernach. "After just a few days of treatment, the symptoms can sometimes improve - combined with the ability to feel joy and hope again, but also to become more productive again." The first time depressive symptoms appear that last longer than two weeks is it is always advisable to discuss the symptoms, thoughts and feelings and behavior changes with your family doctor. If necessary, he can refer you to a specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy. Depressive episodes can be treated well with medication and psychotherapy, which can significantly improve the quality of life of those affected.

In Germany, an estimated 5% of the population, i.e. around 4 million people, currently suffer from depression. About 1 to 2 people in 100 get sick each year. Depressive episodes occur at any age, the peak of the disease is between the ages of 30 and 40. The majority of those affected sooner or later have suicidal thoughts.

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