Depression and Memory Loss

In this modern era of technology, more and more people are suffering from depression. Which is accompanied by poor concentration, sleep disturbance, and many other issues that make your daily life hard. You might also have a question in mind about how depression and memory loss are connected. What is the scientific reason behind that? And how they affect the functioning of your brain. So, this article answers all of your queries on a scientific basis.

Depression and Memory Loss

01. Depression leads to the shrinking of the brain.

In a depressed person’s brain, a protein called REED1 is produced, which blocks the production of another protein called mTORC1, which is a protein responsible for repairing cellular damage. When the production of mTORC1 is hindered, it results in withered neurons. This means that as we get more and more damaged neurons, the overall size of the brain shrinks. When a person suffers from depression for a longer period of time, he needs to take anti-depressants because they start the formation of mTORC1, which will eventually repair the cellular damage. But guess what? Where do we get most of the damaged neurons? That’s the hippocampus, which is a place responsible for memory consolidation. This particular structure of the brain regulates three types of memory.

  • The first one is spatial memory. This type of memory stores information regarding where a certain object is located in space.
  • The second one is short-term memory. Which stores the information only for a certain amount of time.
  • The last one is long-term memory. Which is formed by strong neural connections, so it can be used for later use.

We can simply conclude that all types of memory are affected when neurons are affected in the hippocampus. Depressed individuals get so mentally impaired that they develop a state called pseudodementia. They don’t have dementia as a proper diagnosis, but they develop a state where it is very hard for them to remember things.

Depression and Memory Loss

02. Cognitive impairment:

Depression is believed to be a disorder of thinking. Making it very difficult for a person to concentrate, remember, and interact. It’s more like a person’s cognitive abilities are badly affected. Cognitive ability is the ability of the brain “to think“. Depressed individuals have poor concentration, which means their cognition is affected. There are four domains in cognition:

  1. Executive functioning: That works as the brain’s secretary. It helps to regulate us every day by telling us what should be done.
  2. Processing speed: The brain can receive, understand, and respond to information.
  3. Memory: Basically, cognition helps us store information and also restore it whenever we want to use that particular piece of memory.
  4. Attention: It is one of the four domains of cognitive ability. People suffering from depressive disorder will have difficulty focus and poor concentration.

Just to make it a bit more clear, the brain functioning of a depressed individual is similar to that of a person who has a blood alcohol level of about 0.8%, which is intoxicating. So, we can imagine how hard it is for an individual to function properly when he is depressed.

topless woman holding head down with both hands

03. Depression and memory loss affect overall body functions.

There is a whole mechanism that happens when you are depressed. When a person suffers from Depression, Cortisol is released, which inhibits the ability of neurons (the basic structural element of the brain) to release Serotonin (a hormone that regulates your mood, sleep, and digestion). This is the particular process of depression: when you are depressed, your body releases hormones, and in return, your mood, sleep, and several other functions suffer.

We all might have heard the term that the brain controls all the major systems of our body. Imagine your brain not working to its full potential. How can your body perform all other functions, then? Whenever someone is depressed, their brain starts releasing stress hormones. This is our body’s natural response to stressful situations to cope with them. Studies have shown that longer exposure to stress hormones (Cortisol) will negatively impact every other function of the body as they circulate throughout the body through the circulation system.

Tears, Crying, Tear image Depression and memory loss

04. Neurotransmitters imbalance:

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the brain. These chemical messengers regulate the whole chemistry of the human brain. When a neuron wants to communicate, the axon of that particular cell releases a neurotransmitter, which gets released into the synapse (the space between two neurons). From where the neurotransmitter gets attached to specific receptors located on the dendrite of the next neuron (post-synaptic neuron).

Neurotransmitters affected by Depression are:

  1. Dopamine
  2. Norepinephrine
  3. Serotonin

The levels of these hormones are affected, which results in an overall bad mood.

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man wearing white shirt
with Depression

05. Use of anti-depressants:

There are two ways in which anti-depressants reduce the effects of depressive disorder:

  1. Maintaining levels of neurotransmitters

Anti-depressants are characterized by improving the mood and behavior of depressed individuals by promoting the production of neurotransmitters. Previously, at the onset of depression, the secretion of such neurotransmitters, which were responsible for mood and several other functions, was inhibited.

02. Production of the protein responsible for cellular repair

Anti-depressants start the production of protein, which is responsible for “cellular repair“. So, that’s how they can help neutralize the effects of depression.

Many people around the world speculate that anti-depressants are not necessary when you suffer from depression. but they have been proven to reverse the effects of depression and memory loss. Look out for your Loved ones; if anyone suffers from this state, get them some help. Get a proper description from the doctor to get rid of it completely and live a happy and healthy life.

conclusion for Depression and memory loss:

Concluding the above-mentioned points, Depression will result in the secretion of stress hormones. Your body will be in a fight-or-flight response and start producing cortisol. This in turn reduces the cell repair process, and the long-term effects are memory loss and brain shrinking.

The combined effect of Depression and memory loss will make it difficult for you to lead a healthy life. It will affect your day-to-day interactions and your relationships. Not only does it affect your work, but also your personal life.

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