The Lesser-Known Symptoms of Depression

The Lesser-Known Symptoms of Depression


[♪ INTRO ] Hopefully, by now we all know that depression
is about more than sadness. But even if your idea of depression also includes
things like hopelessness or apathy, what about irritability or anger? Does depression make you think of overwhelming
guilt? What about memory loss? Because those are all symptoms, too. There’s a lot we still don’t understand
about depression, especially when it comes to what’s happening on the cellular level. But we know that when it comes to the experience
of depression, the disorder often shows itself in the form of unhealthy psychological processes. It turns out that some of those thought processes
— specifically, self-blame and rumination — can lead to symptoms people might not
realize are signs of depression. And that’s too bad, because the result is
that we misunderstand those who are suffering from it, sometimes including ourselves. Freud, wrong as he was about a lot of things,
pointed out that depression was different from simple sadness because it was associated
with guilt, and today psychologists consider self-blame a key symptom of depression. When something bad happens, depressed people
tend to blame themselves, and see it as a reflection of their self-worth as a whole. An example researchers sometimes use is thinking
that if you fail at a sports match, it means you’re a total failure. What’s weird is that this only applies to
yourself — depressed people don’t usually assign blame to others the same way. Turns out the unusual amount of guilt — and
only applying it to yourself — might come from two regions of the brain that don’t
activate together the way they should. In a 2012 study, researchers scanned the brains
of 25 people who’d previously had depression and 22 people who didn’t. When the people who’d never been depressed
read descriptions of themselves doing something wrong, it activated both the part of their
brain associated with guilt and the part that deals with morality and what’s socially
appropriate. In people who’d been depressed, that second
part wasn’t activated as strongly. This was a small study, so we can’t draw
too many conclusions from it. But based on the results, the authors suggested
that people who are more prone to depression don’t get an accurate picture of what they
did wrong, so they just feel guilty about everything. So that’s one unhealthy thought pattern
that can cause symptoms beyond plain old sadness or apathy. Another is rumination. And it’s a big one. Rumination is, basically, brooding — usually
unintentionally. Part of problem-solving involves analyzing
the factors surrounding the problem, and that applies to negative emotional experiences,
too. But rumination takes that way too far. It’s getting stuck thinking about everything
that led to and resulted from a negative experience, and it’s strongly linked to both depression
and anxiety. It can also explain some of the less straightforward
signs of depression, like memory problems. Of all the symptoms of depression, memory
problems might seem the most surprising, because we tend to classify depression as emotional,
and memory as more a mechanical part of the mind. But this is just a false dichotomy, that’s
not how the brain works. Depressive disorders often include problems
with cognitive function: the ability to clearly understand, process, and respond to information. And researchers think that has a lot to do
with rumination eating up all your brainpower. You need cognitive resources to pay attention
and remember things, and when people with depression are using those resources to brood,
they have trouble redirecting them toward the task at hand. They end up struggling with episodic memory,
which is the recollection of specific events that happened to you, and working memory,
which is how you hold onto information that you’re currently using to process other
information. Those are both pretty important! It becomes a vicious cycle, where the only
way to break out of this pattern of rumination is to redirect your mental resources toward
something that might make you feel better. But that’s exactly what rumination makes
it so much harder to do! So people get stuck. Rumination can also lead to another common
symptom of depression: anger and irritability, which appears in more than half of patients,
although it’s only used to diagnose the disorder in kids and teens. But it can be a sign of particularly severe
depression. At its core, rumination is a coping strategy
people use to help regulate their emotions — it’s just not a very good one. Instead of feeling better, when people brood
on something that made them angry, they tend to spend more time … angry. We still have more to learn about how unhealthy
thought patterns like self-blame and rumination contribute to depression and its symptoms. But as we study them, we’re discovering
that they can explain a lot. And there’s some good news here, too. Self-blame may have to do with brain regions
not activating the way they should, and rumination may feel like getting stuck. But researchers point out that unhealthy thought
patterns like these are exactly what psychotherapy is meant to help with. Cognitive behavioral therapy, especially,
is designed to identify the connections between thought patterns and behaviors, and reshape
those thought patterns in a healthier way. So yes, depression is a complicated, difficult
illness. But there are therapies and treatments that
can help. And recognizing the different ways depression
manifests itself is an important step toward getting that help and doing this research. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow
Psych. If you’re interested in learning more about
the science of depression, you can check out our video on common misconceptions about antidepressants. And don’t forget to subscribe! [♪ OUTRO ]

54 comments

  1. I would like to ask something very serious. Two months ago, i quit antidepressants with my own decision, without agreement from the doctor. From then, my brain is full of negative thoughts, i feel that i cannot concentrate, something like a huge fog in my brain and i am not in the mood for anything. Is this because i quit the medication or not? Now that i have started taking them again, will i recover?

  2. I’ve had sever memory problems for the last two years and I never knew why. It gets so bad that some days I can’t remember what I did a couple of hours ago.

    Although I’m not clinically diagnosed with depression, it seems like the only plausible answer when linked with my overall emotionless and severe lack of motivation.

  3. i've been depressed for a long time but it has never been as severe as the past 2 years. what helps me is therapy and also learning to accept the fact that i am depressed and that it's not my fault. everyone suffering from extreme self-blaming, i see you, i feel you.

  4. This is so true. Coming from a person who has clinical depression. Anger and rumination. 🙁 also, memory problems. Sometimes, I don't recall what I've done or say to others.

  5. question guilt and empathy is that the same part of the brain If so wat you said about that part less working is depression and psychopathy connected somehow is psychopathy still a thing btw now i wrote that im thinking of the new joker movie and how they made him so depressing but hes known psychopath or supersane or somting Jup its bed time ??

  6. You guys are lacking! That is not true, people with depression can blame themselves and also blame others. I know because I have it.

  7. My surroundings and family are the type of people that think of you have a mental disorder, you’re fucked up in the head. Then they wonder why I look sad or don’t tell them what’s on my mind…

  8. Id rather die than get help getting help is difficult and frustrating. Crap now i know why i cant remember anything ever

  9. TIL that I am depressed and I may be able to get some help via CBT. Now I just need to find a job that offers decent health insurance so I can afford the therapy. Maybe one day, if I can just find some damn boot straps to pull on, society will deem me worthy enough for modern healthcare.

  10. Sometimes I have a hard time telling wether these issues are bc of my fibromyalgia or depression. The answer is probably both.

  11. Learn,t a lot from this video, I have them all, memory loss fatigue, tiredness, anger, irritability, been on meds for 15 years now,

  12. Rumination consuming brain power likely includes willpower, and as that is a finite resource each day, it results in what looks like lethargy?

  13. For me depression is not being able to walk due to weakness.and I'm healthy 28 old. I've spent most my 20ies half disabled, energy so low sometimes I couldn't hold a cup or take a shower..I have years of gaps I don't remember at all

  14. I literally cried for…I don't know… maybe an hour last night? No explanation, my mind was just like, 'you know what? We're going to cry for no reason!'

  15. I think I suffer from dep but I don't wanna self diagnose myself and try to act like it's cool to have it so I just tell myself it's just a sad moment it'll pass away.

  16. Could it be that maybe you/we/I aren't depressed? Just overly anxious and/ or we over think like a LOT ? Unhealthy thoughts? Numbness, etc as defense mechanisms? Maybe society . Maybe we overdiagnose ¿ maybe we feel And never found healthy ways to properly cope so we blame ourselves or even identity with the negative feelings ¿¿

  17. Can you make an episode on anhedonia?
    Apparently I've got clinical depression that is "mild" enough that I don't have typical depressive episodes, but I still can't enjoy anything, lost libido, lost any motivation, etc… And antidepressants don't really help, all they do is they make me feel less stressed out and give me heartburns lol

  18. These are great videos. Will you guys do or have you done a video on the link/relationship between ADHD and depression? Thanks for all the great info!

  19. Had this pop up in suggestions. Clicked and watched, liked it and thought to give it a like. It seems I already have, before. Just cant remember :-/

  20. Even after years of CBT I can’t imagine what it’s like to live without these patterns being the default. I now have the skills to observe my thought patterns and sort of take control and redirect them, but it’s still really exhausting sometimes because even as the process becomes more automatic, I still have to devote energy to it. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to not have to do that and have a brain that just WORKS * falls over with exhaustion *. Also yeah one thing I notice is that maybe I’m sad sometimes, but my baseline is really just like I feel like I have no spoons. Or like I’m a video game character low on HP or something. It makes sense since my brain is directing all its energy towards dumb things.

  21. Brain fog, memory loss can also be the problem of lacking vitamins (like vitamin D, vitamins B and other nutritions).
    May mom had a very low vitamin D level in her blood, lower than the minimum level. After taking huge amounts of vitamins and minerals it was much better. But to recover from lacking it takes months before you completely restore, be patient.
    I've started to take it too and I felt like a watered flower after long drought.
    Ruminating or I would say mental draining is very much destructive so please be careful that you observe yourself and stop doing that as soon you notice it.

  22. when you realize you have quite a few too many symptoms of depression yet refuse to believe you might have it because you won't want your parents to know

    oops

  23. what does it mean "you're a total failure"? Failure is an abstract concept. how can a concrete living breathing touchable human be an abstract concept escapes me.

  24. I was quite depressed in the past and I can tell that the memory loss is really significant. It's not just everything hazy. I can't remember the arrangement of the room that I was living in for 3 months. And often someone tells me some events that I don't remember that happened. And it's not "ah now that you mentioned it I do remember it" it's really nothing there in my brain about it. And I wasn't heavily drugged. The other really significant thing is lost of taste. I don't mean the lost of the appetite (it was actually partially the result of losing taste). Everything was bland, like ashy cottonpads. and for the person who loves eating, especially trying new stuff it was another nail in the coffin. Luckily when I got out of it the taste came back.

  25. I have depression, anxiety, and ptsd and i have memory issues where ill just get memories. Ill remeber turning in an assigmnet in great detail but i actually never did turn it in.

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