04-19 Depression may alter communication and thinking skills, finds study

Posted in Behavioral Health

Depression may alter communication and thinking skills, finds study

An individual who has overcome depression would understand how severely this mental illness can affect one’s life. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression is one of the most common mental illnesses among people in the United States. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by the year 2020 depression will be the second largest cause of morbidity worldwide.

One in six people in the U.S. takes a psychiatric drug, be it an antidepressant, anxiety reliever or antipsychotic drug, reveals the Scientific American. Now, a research has found that depression not only interferes with the ability to work, study, sleep, or eat, but also influences one’s level of communication.

Effect on brain

When a person experiences a stressful event, the initial response of brain and body is being protective, as hormones and other mediators, such as neurotransmitters, are used to survive and adapt to the challenge. However, repeated stressful experiences have deleterious effects, which over a period can lead to depressive disorders.

Brain-imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), have shown that the brains of people who have depression look different from those without depression. A study found that people with depression have a higher chance of developing structural changes in the brain in regions associated with thinking and communication skills.

The team of researchers analyzed more than 3,000 people using an MRI-based neuroimaging technique to map the structure of the brain’s white matter. The major scanning study has identified depression to cause changes in the brain’s structure. The findings revealed alternations in areas of the brain known as white matter—a vital component of the brain’s wiring. The white matter contains fiber tracts that enable brain cells to communicate with one another through electrical signals. The results of the study showed that any disruption in the white matter causes problems with emotion processing and thinking skills.

Absolutist thinking a marked cognitive distortion

In another study, researchers analyzed the texts from over 63 internet forums (comprising more than 6,400 members) and observed certain words or turns of phrase, which could predict if someone is living with depression. Researchers used Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count Software to screen for “absolutist” words — that do not allow nuanced consideration of a circumstance or event.

The researchers observed that people who used absolutist language tend to disregard context and express themselves using words that denote totality. The findings also revealed that absolutist thinking was common among those with suicidal ideation, borderline personality disorder (BPD), and eating disorders.

There can be more speech-related problems caused due to depression. These could include shaky voice, stuttering or quiet voice. In some people, depression or anxiety seems to dry out their throat, or cause them to feel as if they are losing their voice. Similarly, depression can make much harder to think about the words, and more.

Communication is important

Many people take communication for granted. However, the ability to communicate requires extremely complex skills where many different parts of the brain are involved. Now, as bad communication helps in identifying an individual suffering from depression, treating the illness is the next step. Depression is a medical condition, not a weakness that calls for immediate treatment intervention. Treatment is possible only when one communicates properly to describe his/her problem.

If a loved one is showing symptoms of depression or any other apparent mental disorder, seek immediate help. The Depression Treatment Centers of California can help you find the best treatment facilities for depression in your vicinity. Call our 24/7 helpline number (855) 678-0400 for immediate assistance in finding outpatient or residential treatment centers for depression. Special attention is needed to determine if it is a substance abuse mood disorder. Call us today or chat online with an expert for more information.


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