home
RSS
June 21st, 2011
10:23 AM ET

Can depression cause inability to focus?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Tuesdays, it's Dr. Charles Raison, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, and an expert in the mind-body connection for health.

Asked by Rachel from Southern California

I am a college student, recently diagnosed with depression, and am taking steps to figure out if I have ADHD because of a tremendous inability to focus and retain information. It is almost like, when I'm trying to focus on something someone says, it slips right through me like water.

I am curious to know what prospects I have of gaining my cognitive abilities back if I start taking Lexapro or other antidepressants. If these are going to impair my ability to concentrate and focus even more, then I am not sure how to weigh the cost-benefits of taking them, because I am in school.

In short, are antidepressants more helpful or hurtful to my cognitive functions? Can I look forward to reversing the concentration and memory retention problems I am currently undergoing?

Expert answer

I am very sorry to hear about your situation. College is tough enough without having to struggle with depression.

When most people think of depression, the first things that come to mind are sadness, a loss of enjoyment in life, and perhaps that great dark sense of foreboding and fear that so often accompany the disorder.

And while these are all very painful, and central, parts of the condition, other symptoms of depression can be at least as damaging, and you are struggling with one of those: trouble concentrating.

So the first thing you should know is that the problems with focusing and remembering that you are experiencing are classic depressive symptoms and therefore may not be indicative of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

It's pretty easy to figure this one out. Did you always have trouble concentrating and remembering things? If you can clearly answer yes to this, then you may have ADHD that preceded your depression. This would not be surprising - it appears that ADHD in childhood is a risk factor for a variety of psychiatric disorders in adulthood.

On the other hand, if your problems with concentration and memory only began with the start of your depression, then they are almost certainly depressive symptoms that will resolve when your depression is fully treated.

Let me answer your question about Lexapro (escitalopram) by assuming that your memory and focus problems are symptoms of your depression and not related to any pre-existing ADHD.

In this case the surest way to resolve these issues is to get rid of your depression, and to do so as quickly as possible. If you take Lexapro and it resolves the depression, it will also greatly improve your ability to focus and remember things.

Note that this does not appear to be a direct effect of the antidepressant, but rather results when the antidepressant resolves the depression.

Antidepressants don't improve memory or concentration, per se. But anything that makes your depression go away will fix your cognitive difficulties precisely because they are part of the depression.

A final comment: Don't forget that antidepressants are not your only option. Many studies show that certain types of psychotherapy (including cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral activation and interpersonal psychotherapy) work as well as antidepressants.


soundoff (948 Responses)
  1. cambodia

    I know this website offers quality dependent articles and other stuff,
    is there any other web site which provides these
    information in quality?

    June 29, 2021 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Repair 2005 Sprinter Ecm

    https://error404.atomseo.com/away?to=http://ocrv.art

    June 29, 2021 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Nearest RV Repair

    https://www.newzealandgirls.co.nz/auckland/escorts/clicks.php?click_id=NavBar_AF_AdultDirectory&target=https://www.ocrvparts.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It is the little changes that produce the most important changes. Thanks for sharing!

    http://downloads.larivieracasino.com/affiliate/remote/aiddownload.asp?casinoID=442&affid=0&subGid=0&bannerID=0&trackingID=&redirect=http://ocrvluxurycoaches.com

    June 29, 2021 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Sprinter Repair

    Wonderful post! We will be linking to this particularly great post on our site. Keep up the good writing.

    https://www.firststopsafety.co.uk/registrationcomplete.aspx?returnurl=https://sprintervanrepairshop.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 20:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    A motivating discussion is worth comment. I believe that you need to publish more about this topic, it might not be a taboo matter but typically people don't discuss these issues. To the next! Many thanks!!

    http://www.odokon.org/w3a/redirect.php?redirect=http://www.ocrvcenter.biz/

    June 29, 2021 at 21:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Conversion Van Repair Near Me

    That is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise informationÖ Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read article!

    http://www.pharmnet.com.cn/dir/go.cgi?url=fleetservicesocrv.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 22:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. free v bucks generator

    After checking out a number of the blog posts on your website, I seriously
    like your technique of writing a blog. I added it
    to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my web site as well and tell me your opinion.

    June 29, 2021 at 23:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Repair Places Near Me

    May I just say what a relief to discover someone who really understands what they're discussing over the internet. You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people must read this and understand this side of the story. It's surprising you are not more popular given that you definitely have the gift.

    https://jsonp.afeld.me/?url=http://ocrvmotorsports.us/

    June 30, 2021 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. satta king

    Howdy, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was
    just curious if you get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything
    you can recommend? I get so much lately it's driving me crazy
    so any support is very much appreciated.

    June 30, 2021 at 00:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Camper Repair Near Me

    http://ww17.template.blogbamz.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com

    June 30, 2021 at 04:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Van Conversion Shop

    https://www.howtotrainyourdragon.co.nz/notice.php?url=https://www.fleetvehiclerepairshop.com

    June 30, 2021 at 04:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Camper Repairs Near Me

    http://aarss.com/redir.php?siteref=&aarsslink=https://www.ocrvmotorsports.life

    June 30, 2021 at 05:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Credit Counseling orlando

    best i have ever seen!Hello, always i used to check webpage posts here early in the daylight, for the reason that i love to gain knowledge of more and more.

    https://goo.gl/maps/z5QxDM4xnvD2

    June 30, 2021 at 05:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. https://thuocladientu123.com

    Best view i have ever seen !

    https://images.google.com.sg/url?q=https://thuocladientu123.com

    June 30, 2021 at 05:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Locksmith Cave Creek AZ

    A great read. I'll definitely be back.

    https://www.google.com/maps?cid=106407147833378062

    June 30, 2021 at 06:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Home Insurance Englewood CO

    Wow this blog is very nice!

    https://www.google.com/maps?cid=12039124596540498887

    June 30, 2021 at 06:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Repair Garden Grove

    http://www.betterwhois.com/link.cgi?url=https://ocrvcenter.biz/

    June 30, 2021 at 06:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Repair Near Me

    Good article. I certainly appreciate this website. Stick with it!

    http://c.peps.jp/jump/location.php?ipn=jumptpb&url=https://ocrv.biz/

    June 30, 2021 at 06:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Repair 2005 Sprinter Ecm

    You are so awesome! I do not suppose I've truly read through something like this before. So nice to find somebody with original thoughts on this topic. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This site is something that's needed on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

    https://www.knipsclub.de/weiterleitung/?url=https://www.sprintervanrepairshop.com

    June 30, 2021 at 06:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Heating Repair Fayetteville NC

    Thank You for your information

    https://inexpensivecarinsurance.us/independent-contractor-or-hvac-repair-business-enterprise/

    June 30, 2021 at 07:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Repair Shop Near Me

    http://sunnltd.co.uk/regulations?url=https://theocrv.com

    June 30, 2021 at 07:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Repair Near Me

    This is a topic that's near to my heart... Many thanks! Exactly where are your contact details though?

    http://nullrefer.com/?http://ocrv.org/

    June 30, 2021 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. auto collision repair raleigh

    Really very happy to say,your post is very interesting to read.I never stop myself to say something about it.You're doing a great job.Keep it up

    http://ecoflex-experience.com/tips-for-getting-the-vehicles-auto-body-repaired/

    June 30, 2021 at 07:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Repairs Near My Location

    https://baoviet.com.vn/redirect.aspx?url=https://ocrvcenter.org

    June 30, 2021 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Relentless Collision

    this is very informative and intersting for those who are interested in blogging field.

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Relentless+Collision/@35.8167572,-78.597496,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xecfa0d223ab3249d!8m2!3d35.8167572!4d-78.597496

    June 30, 2021 at 08:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. estate planning Spokane Valley

    thanks for sharing!

    https://www.google.com/maps?cid=11933253185015063857

    June 30, 2021 at 08:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Repair San Clemente California

    https://reporting.singlefeed.com/r/?cvsfe=5&cvsfurl=//ocrvempire.com20

    June 30, 2021 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. KAT

    Its not my first time to go to see this website, i am browsing
    this website dailly and take nice data from here every day.

    June 30, 2021 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Mercedes Sprinter Rust Repair Panels

    http://cupofkitsch.blogapot.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=sprintervanrepairnearme.com/

    June 30, 2021 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Repair Orange County

    Very good article. I am going through many of these issues as well..

    https://doterra.myvoffice.com/Application/index.cfm?&EnrollerID=1&Theme=Default&ReturnUrl=ocrv.tv

    June 30, 2021 at 09:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. hummus near me

    Hey! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done
    a extraordinary job!

    Here is my page :: hummus near me

    June 30, 2021 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Leave a Reply to RV Repair Seal Beach


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.