Memory impairment is often a feature of depression. Depression occurs not infrequently as we get older. There are many reasons for this such as loneliness, physical ill health or physical changes within the brain causing a reduction in certain chemical messengers.
The common symptoms of depression are those of a depressed mood, loss of interest and loss of energy. Other symptoms may include reduced concentration, reduced self esteem, guilt feelings, pessimism regarding the future, altered sleep and decreased appetite.
An individual suffering from depression may also complain of memory impairment. Sometimes this is simply due to depression, in other instances it may indicate co-existing dementia.
It is important therefore to consider if someone is depressed if they have memory impairment. Conversely if someone has memory impairment it is important to consider if they have depression.
The reason for this is that many treatments are available for depression. If depression is identified and successfully treated the symptoms of memory impairment if present may resolve.
In addition should the individual with depression go on to develop progressive memory failure and dementia, this will be identified at an early stage and allow early treatment of the dementia.