Psychologists at the University of Sussex have carried out an extensive research according to which there is a direct link between the decrease of memory function in people in their 50s and episodes of anxiety and depression developed in adults in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. The study was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry and is unique in the sense that it explored an association between symptoms of anxiety and depression developed across 30 years of early and mid-adulthood and a cognitive decline in midlife.
For the study, psychologists investigated the records obtained from the National Child Development Study, that was founded in 1958 and has a cohort of over 18,000 babies. The study population was followed from birth into adolescence and into adulthood. Over the thirty years, the participants experienced a buildup of symptoms which offered a strong predictor of linear decline in memory by the time the individuals were fifty.
Opportunity to protect future memory function
The psychologists discovered that a single episode of anxiety or depression had a meagre consequence on the adult’s memory function in midlife, irrespective of the decade in which it was manifested, however, once such episodes rose to multiple numbers over the course of 30 years, it projected a steady decline in the participant’s memory function till they turned 50 years old. This was, therefore, a chance to safeguard memory function of the aging population by encouraging interventions pertaining to mental health among young adults.
Dr. Darya Gaysina from the University of Sussex shared that more the instances of depression individuals felt in their later life, greater was the threat of cognitive distress in the later years. The findings emphasized that there should be an effective prophylactic treatment approach in place which can avert the progression of recurring mental health disorders preventing long-standing negative consequences. Therefore, the governments should invest more in safeguarding not only the immediate mental health of the individuals but also help secure their future mental health.
More efforts required to secure present and future mental health
The researchers also investigated accuracy, speed, information processing, and verbal fluency test totals of the participants, in addition to memory, once they reached 50 years of age. These four areas of cognitive function were the least impacted by the episodes of anxiety or depression, however, memory loss indicated a prediction of dementia in early adulthood because of the symptoms of depression experienced in early adulthood.
While the governments should invest more to secure the present and future mental health of their citizens, from an individual’s point of view also, it is important to put in some efforts to safeguard their mental health. Spending some time on physical activity, practicing mindfulness, retaining strong ties with family and friends, traveling, etc. are some of the steps that one can undertake to strengthen their mental health. If nothing works, then one must seek professional help for relieving the symptoms.
Road to recovery
Mental health problems like anxiety are fairly common with 18.1 percent of the U.S. population afflicted with the same, in any given year. Untreated mental health problems can affect school, work-life, and even relationships. Therefore, if doubtful, one must see a professional mental health therapist at the earliest.
If you or someone you know is showing symptoms of anxiety or any other mental disorder, get in touch with the Anxiety Disorder Helpline. Call us at our 24/7 anxiety disorder helpline 866-971-7951 and speak with a member of our admissions team about anxiety disorder treatment clinics. You can also chat online with a representative to find the best anxiety disorder treatment center, where the treatment program can be customized as per your needs.