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Feelings of sadness and overwhelm are common as people age. That is partly because of reduced activities that people can do to improve their quality of life. The feelings of sadness, if uncontrolled, can, at times, spiral into depression, resulting in further issues.

Depression and Memory Loss

A new study published on JAMA Network Open sheds new light on why keeping feelings of sadness at bay as people age is important. The study has found a deep connection between depressive feelings and memory loss as people age. The findings clearly show it is essential to try and address the feelings of sadness before they lead to depression and, finally, a decline in cognitive functions as people age.

The results paint a striking picture of how depressive symptoms and memory decline are intertwined. At any given point in time, individuals with more depressive symptoms tend to perform worse on memory and verbal fluency tests.

Over the course of the study, people who started with more depressive symptoms experienced a faster rate of memory loss compared to those with fewer symptoms. In turn, poorer initial memory function predicted a greater increase in depressive symptoms over time. This suggests a vicious cycle where depression accelerates memory decline, which then worsens mood symptoms.

Treating Depression

The researchers indicate that it is essential to treat depression early in life as one of the ways of protecting and nurturing brain health. Depression has been connected to issues with memory, including forgetfulness or a state of confusion. It can also complicate the ability to concentrate on work or other activities, make choices, or think in a clear manner.

Stress and anxiety can also contribute to memory problems. Depression is linked to temporary memory difficulties. It doesn’t impact other forms of memory, like long-term memory and procedural memory, which manage physical skills.

Treating depression-related memory problems often involves consistent therapy or counseling, along with the use of antidepressants. Engaging in physical activities and participating in community events can also improve your emotional well-being. To address memory issues, employing memory aids can be beneficial. This might involve utilizing alarm clocks for time management, organizing items by color for easier identification at home, or attaching safety guides on appliances.