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?
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.
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.
Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I've read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just bookmark this web site.
I run a vape shop submission site and we have had a posting from a vape store in the United States that likewise advertises CBD product lines. A Calendar month later, PayPal has written to use to say that our account has been restricted and have requested us to take away PayPal as a payment solution from our vape shop website directory. We do not offer CBD items like CBD oil. We solely provide web marketing professional services to CBD firms. I have visited Holland & Barrett– the UK's Reputable Health Store and if you take a close peek, you will see that they sell a surprisingly considerable range of CBD goods, particularly CBD oil and they also happen to take PayPal as a settlement solution. It appears that PayPal is employing double standards to different companies. Because of this limitation, I can no longer take PayPal on my CBD-related internet site. This has constricted my payment options and now, I am heavily contingent on Cryptocurrency payments and direct bank transfers. I have sought advice from a lawyer from a Magic Circle law practice in London and they stated that what PayPal is doing is absolutely unlawful and discriminatory as it should be applying an uniform standard to all firms. I am yet to consult yet another lawyer from a US law office in The city of london to see what PayPal's legal position is in the USA. For the time being, I would be very appreciative if anybody here at targetdomain could offer me with different payment processors/merchants that deal with CBD companies.
An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. There's no doubt that that you ought to publish more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo matter but usually people do not discuss such subjects. To the next! Kind regards!!
I truly love your site.. Great colors & theme. Did you develop this site yourself? Please reply back as Iím attempting to create my own website and would like to learn where you got this from or what the theme is named. Cheers!
You have made some good points there. I checked on the net for more info about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.
Excellent article. I will be facing some of these issues as well..
I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up!
I'll go ahead and bookmark your website
to come back later. Many thanks
Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this info.
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
Commenting on a blog is an art. Good comments create relations. You're doing great work. Keep it up.
This blog is great check it out
My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was
totally right. This post actually made my day. You cann't imagine just how much time I had spent
for this info! Thanks!
This is a very interesting article. Please, share more like this!
I could not refrain from commenting. Well written!
That is a great tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very precise infoÖ Thank you for sharing this one. A must read article!
You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the greatest blogs on the net. I am going to recommend this site!
An interesting discussion is worth comment. I do think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo matter but generally people do not discuss such subjects. To the next! Many thanks!!
Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site thus i came
to return the want?.I am attempting to find issues to improve my website!I
assume its good enough to make use of some
of your ideas!!
Very nice article. I absolutely love this website. Keep it up!
Howdy! I could have sworn Iíve visited this site before but after looking at many of the articles I realized itís new to me. Anyhow, Iím definitely pleased I discovered it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back often!
Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It is the little changes which will make the biggest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!
Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful article. Thanks for providing these details.
Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your website is very helpful. Many thanks for sharing!
Itís hard to come by experienced people for this topic, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks
Heya fantastic website! Does running a blog similar to
this require a lot of work? I've no expertise in computer
programming however I had been hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyhow,
if you have any suggestions or techniques for new blog owners please share.
I know this is off topic however I just wanted
to ask. Cheers!
instagram reels izlenme satın al
Spot on with this write-up, I seriously believe this website needs much more attention. Iíll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the info!
Having read this I believed it was very informative.
I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this informative article together.
I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and
commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!
May I simply just say what a relief to discover somebody who actually
knows what they're discussing on the net.
You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make it
important. A lot more people ought to check this out and understand this side of the story.
I was surprised that you're not more popular because you
certainly have the gift.
Hi, I do think this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may revisit yet again since i have book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.
Great info. Lucky me I came across your site by chance (stumbleupon). I've saved it for later!
Everything is very open with a clear description of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your website is very helpful. Thank you for sharing!