New research has linked dysphoria, a characteristic symptom of depression, to memory and concentration deficits. Dysphoria, the antonym of euphoria, involves persistent low mood and general feelings of dissatisfaction.
The new study focused on dysphoric individuals’ tendency to focus solely on “mood-congruent” thoughts. For example: depressed people often obsess about negative experiences and emotions, such as social rejection or suicidal thinking, yet discount or ignore positive thoughts.
Researchers tested the working memory of participants using negative and neutral interferences. They found that dysphoric individuals were much more likely to remember negative test interferences and less likely to remember neutral test interferences.
The persistent negativity that floods the minds of depressed people can be exhausting; it is possible that rumination over negative feelings may impair the mind from integrating new information and memories.
“Such deficits take a personal toll on these individuals with depressed mood and have societal consequences via loss of productivity and an increased rate of disability,” the study authors wrote. “It is likely that persistent thinking about affectively negative, mood congruent information… can impair real-world functioning for those with depressed mood.”
Do you or someone you know suffer from depression? See if you qualify for the Segal Institute’s clinical research study on depression today!