The Lingering Effects of a Major Depressive Episode

Depression can take its toll on a person. It can cause a person to lose weight, sleep, productivity, and hope in the future. But when someone experiencing depression finally emerges from that dark place and is able to resume functioning, he or she may still have some lingering effects. Being in remission from depression is characterized by not exhibiting any of the major symptoms of the condition. Although there has been a broad range of studies examining how depression affects cognitive functioning, few studies have looked at how the cognitive functioning of people in remission compares to that of people with no history of depression. To explore this further, Bo Jacob Hasselbalch of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark recently led a study involving 38 individuals in remission from depression and 50 control participants.

Prior to testing, the researcher determined that all of the 38 individuals were indeed in remission and not currently experiencing any clinical symptoms of depression. Each participant was then put through a series of cognitive tests designed to measure various aspects of cognitive functioning. Hasselbalch found that the individuals in remission from depression performed more poorly than the control participants. This was especially evident in the area of attention and especially strong on the results of the Stroop task. But additional deficits, although less noticeable, also appeared in measures of cognitive malleability, speed, and visual-perceptual processing. These findings demonstrate that individuals who are in remission from depression may still experience potential trait impairments in cognitive functioning. Hasselbalch believes these may be primarily trait related because the deficits were most pronounced in attention tasks, but future work will need to be done to confirm this. “Cognitive deficits are present in patients with unipolar depressive disorder in the remitted state,” Hasselbalch surmised.

Hasselbalch, Bo Jacob, Ulla Knorr, Steen Gregers Hasselbalch, Anders Gade, and Lars Vedel Kessing. Cognitive deficits in the remitted state of unipolar depressive disorder. Neuropsychology 26.5 (2012): 642-51. Print.

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  • Nigel


    October 1st, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Its not easy to completely get away from an episode of depression.I have been into depression before and although it took a shorter time to get out of the depression itself it took much longer, several months to actually get rid of all its effects.The reason it is so is because our mind does not easily get over depression and thoughts do linger in there for a long time.And it takes work,courage and determination,and maybe even a little bit of luck to rule it all.

  • Restokley


    June 12th, 2016 at 5:31 PM

    My anxiety is not as bad taking Xanax or Klonopin, but the depression lingers

  • Gabriella


    October 1st, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    I have never really thought about the fact that there could be lingering after effects that come with dealing with depression. How sad. These are people who have to fight so hard to make it day to day sometimes, and just when they think that they have conquered depression then they have to accept the fact that their cognitive functioning could be impaired as a result of having to have battled this illness.

  • Nell T

    Nell T

    October 2nd, 2012 at 4:03 AM

    How about if you have only suffered minor depression?
    Any thoughts on whether this can cause these lasting negative effects too?

  • Crystal Tackett

    Crystal Tackett

    October 4th, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    I have been really worried about my husband. I come to realize my husband suffers from depression it seems to get worst with time.I have tried all I can possibly do to help him with the depression and nothing seems to’s starting to take a toll on our marriage it seems I’m the target he is constiantly throwing darts at me that’s what it feels like any way. I’m starting to feel as he hates me hates to be around me like he don’t love me there is not one day that he makes me feel like he hates me he don’t love me it hurts a lot I used to have a husband who once loved me and charished me he use to make me feel like I was the only women alive but as the depression gets worse the more he seems to hate me and him self some times I feel as maybe if I would just leave him and god know s that is not what I want I love my husband more then life it’s self but his depression and the things he says and does hurts so bad as I feel like we just broke up so I sit and think maybe if I leave him he might get better but see here is the thing I don’t know what to do I get so many mixed emotions from him I don’t know to leave or stay he don’t know his self either.. I feel trapped in between 2 walls and I’m screaming trying to knock them down maybe some one can hear me. I need help what do I do??????!!!! I love my husband I want to spend the rest of my life with him please I need to know what I can do to fix this and get him help for the depression ..

  • Anonymous


    October 4th, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    He needs help. And…you need someone to help you deal with this and have an outlet yourself. I am dealing with a similar situation. If he won’t go for help, suggest he come to counseling with you. When my husband refused to go, I originally gave ultimatum that if we didn’t go, I was leaving. In order to get him to go I had to tell him I needed him to come with me to keep me honest with the therapist about my part in all of this. (My husband didn’t see the issues being with him) At the end of the day, you can’t help him, he will have to want to get help. You can help him by providing him information or making calls to therapists, but You do need to take care of yourself, because no one else is. Eventually, this will start manifesting itself in you, emotionally and physically. I feel for you, because I am going through it too, and I want off the roller coaster. It feels like everyday my feelings change about what to do, guilt, fear, scared something bad will happen to him.

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