Fast Five Quiz: Depression and Cognition

Stephen Soreff, MD


December 31, 2019

Symptoms of depression are highly variable and may cause substantial distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Patients with depression may present with a diminished ability to think or concentrate, including indecisiveness. The inability to make decisions particularly affects patients vocationally, within their families, and socially. Not uncommonly, it is others who persuade the patient to seek help.

Historically, cognitive impairment in patients with depression has been frequently overlooked because cognitive deficits and symptoms of depression often overlap; however, cognitive deficits are reported in most patients with depression. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) diagnostic criteria for a major depressive episode include "diminished ability to concentrate and/or indecisiveness."

Learn more about cognition and depression.

Other common symptoms of depression may include:

  • Depressed mood

  • Diminished interest or loss of pleasure in almost all activities (anhedonia)

  • Significant weight change or appetite disturbance

  • Sleep disturbance (insomnia or hypersomnia)

  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation

  • Fatigue or loss of energy

  • Feelings of worthlessness

  • Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or specific plan for committing suicide

Manic episodes are not among the DSM-5 criteria for MDD. Mania is one of the key symptoms in bipolar affective disorder.

Learn more about the presentation of depression.


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