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Anxiety and Depression at Young Age Can Lead to Memory Loss in Later Years

Anxiety and Depression at Young Age Can Lead to Memory Loss in Later Years

A new study says repetitive episodes of depression and anxiety affects memory but has little effect on cognitive function.

A new study has found a clear link between depression & anxiety and memory loss. It says the repetitive episodes of depression and anxiety in the first four decades of life affect the memory of a person in the 50s. A longitudinal study was conducted in the University of Sussex whose report was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. This study has implored the UK government to invest in health facilities of young adults to protect their mental health as the country’s population ages.

The Sussex psychologists gathered and analyzed the data received from the National Child Development Study. This project included the information of 18558 participants born in England, Wales, and Scotland in 1958.  The volunteers were between age 7 and 50 and were periodically tested for anxiety and depression. The team found out an accumulation of symptoms experienced by the participants over the decades. They also found that one episode of depression or anxiety during any decade of life had little to no effect on memory function. However, multiple episodes of depression and anxiety in the first three decades of adult life decrease the memory function steadily when a person reaches fifty.

Although anxiety and depression has a clear effect on memory functioning, it had little effect on cognitive functions such as verbal fluency or information processing. The researchers at the University think the study had lots of limitations. For instance, cognitive function was only evaluated at age 50 and not assessed throughout adulthood. Therefore, lack of data makes it difficult to draw a conclusion on cognitive function. The researchers also said that further studies are required to shed light on the link between anxiety and depression and social behavior.

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