Can depression cause memory loss problems? Short-term memory loss has been linked to depression, but other forms of memory (ex. long-term memory) remain unaffected. Memory loss can cause difficulties in concentrating on work or other activities, make choices, or think clearly. In this blog, we discuss exactly how depression and memory loss are connected.
According to researchers, depression can cause changes in the brain that impair memory. When someone has a depressive episode, their body goes through a stress response and releases a hormone called cortisol. Too much cortisol in the brain prevents new brain cell formation in the hippocampus, which causes it to shrink. This indicates that depressive episodes can trigger a stress response that affects memory. However, treating depression will help people with various symptoms, including memory loss (forgetfulness) and attention problems.
The majority of people who suffer from depression experience exhaustion and sleep disturbances. Depression is linked to a disruption of some neurotransmitters that control mood as well as sleep. This imbalance of neurotransmitters could cause patients to suffer from depression, insomnia (lack of sleep), or hypersomnia (excessive sleep) which may affect cognitive performance.
Antidepressants can help to alleviate the symptoms of depression. However, certain antidepressants, such as SSRIs and tricyclic, can cause concentration problems or even short-term memory loss.
However, short-term memory loss does not occur in every case. Thousands of patients have benefited from antidepressants. If you are taking antidepressants and are experiencing short-term memory loss, speak to your doctor immediately. Your provider can recommend other treatment options or adjust the dosage of your antidepressants.
Memory aids will also help you control your memory loss. Using alarm clocks to keep track of time, color-coding household products, or putting safety notes with instructions on appliances, depending on your needs. If you are experiencing any type of memory loss, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Do you have questions about depression? Schedule an appointment with MI Express Primary Care. Our team can help you manage your depression with a customized approach.
Dr. Umayr Azimi, a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, is the Medical Director of MI Express Urgent Care and MI Express Primary Care in Canton, Michigan. He is a board-certified physician with advanced training in a wide range of non-life-threatening medical conditions. He believes that every visit is unique and treats every patient as an individual to ensure that all of his patients get the best treatment.