Memory recall improves symptoms of depression


When you hear the word “party” what do you think of? Maybe your sweet sixteen or a particularly special New Year’s celebration. Usually some event, set in a particular time and space will come to mind. Researchers have found that for depressed individuals, it is difficult to recall details of past events and improving those memories might help alleviate the depression.

People who can’t recall memories are often depressed

Researchers have found that people who suffer from, or may be at risk of, depression have difficulty tapping into specific memories from their own past. This is an important impairment that affects their ability to solve problems and leads them to focus on feelings of distress.

Twenty-three depressed, adolescent Afghani refugees who had lost their families in war were recruited for the study. Twelve went to a memory training program and the balance received no training. They started with a memory test which included a variety of photos. They were asked to recall a memory when viewing each photo. Each memory was designated specific or non-specific. They also completed a questionnaire.

Weekly training encourage the recollection of memories

The adolescents in the memory training group underwent weekly training for five weeks. They learned about memory recall and different types of memories. They were encouraged to recall specific memories after being given keywords. At the end of the five weeks, everyone retook the memory test and they did so again two months after that.

After training, they showed fewer signs of depression

The group that received training was better able to provide specific memories than the other group. They also showed fewer symptoms of depression. The findings suggest that a standalone memory training program can actually improve depression symptoms.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Association for Psychological Science


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