Fast Five Quiz: Depression and Cognition

Stephen Soreff, MD


December 31, 2019

Cognitive deficits associated with depression can affect motor function as well as attention, verbal and nonverbal learning, short-term and working memory, visual and auditory processing, problem-solving, and processing speed. Patients appear to think and act slowly. This has been called psychomotor retardation.

Cognitive deficits can precede a depressive episode, follow one, or occur simultaneously. In fact, cognitive deficits frequently persist even after other symptoms of depression have been resolved, and they can increase the risk for relapse.

Data suggest that repeated episodes of depression may increase predisposition to further cognitive deficits and create a "kindling" effect.

The functional impairment experienced by patients with depression is believed to be triggered by cognitive dysfunction, and cognitive deficits have been shown to be a better predictor of daily function than depression severity.

Encouraging patients with MDD to engage in moderate physical activity may have therapeutic results.

Learn more about symptoms in MDD.


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