Did you know that cognitive symptoms are part of depression?

Posted: Jun 10, 2015 in June 2015

Did you know that cognitive symptoms are part of depression?


  • difficulty focusing attention

  • increased distractibility

  • slowed information processing

  • decreased response time

  • difficulty making decisions

  • changes in the ability to learn information


Certainly not everyone with depression experiences all these symptoms, but changes in the ability to think and concentrate along with indecisiveness are among the symptoms of a major depressive disorder in the most recent version of the diagnostic manual used by Psychologists and Psychiatrists (the DSM-5). Generally, when I am treating someone for depression, this information comes as a great relief, as common thoughts include: "I'm losing my mind" or "I'm so scatterbrained" or "I'm going crazy". Learning that, for example, what you have conceptualized as a memory problem may be better explained by the fact that a decrease in your ability to focus your attention makes it more difficult to encode information, so when you go to retrieve it later, it simply isn't there. This can provide a sense of hopefulness as one can then appreciate that as the symptoms of depression improve with treatment, the cognitive components will improve as well.