Saturday, June 1, 2013

Depression Affects Learning

Did you know that depression affects your ability to learn?

Inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, lack of drive - all this can be a result of depression disorder. The scientists only now began researching human brain and its intricacies thoroughly. We all know that depressed people lack serotonin, a brain chemical which affects their happiness.

But what we don't know is that there are two origins of depression:

- Predisposition to depression, which can be a depression gene or family history of mental illnesses.

- External triggers like grief, major trauma, stress, extreme tiredness, etc.

The first type of depression is majorly treated by antidepressants, but the second is more complex and requires a combination of depression therapy and antidepressant medication.

When we are depressed, the illness blocks supply of happy, comforting and hopeful images from our brain when we need them to go on. This is how we lose our drive. Instead depression makes us see everything in negative light and also produces anxiety, which can be at times debilitating. It also reduces our creativity.

Some of the antidepressants like Prozac for example will hinder your learning as well as it will level you; stop you from feeling and reacting more deeply. I would imagine that someone studying arts or creative design will have trouble functioning to the best of their abilities on such medications.

There is also a theory that some learning disabilities in children are caused by depression. If you think about it, it fits - lack of interest, loss of energy, mood swings, memory problems, irritability, problems with concentration... This is all textbook signs of depression.

But do not give up your learning whatever you do as the more you persist with learning the more you progress, the happier it will make you. This is like catch 22. Learning new skills especially with jobless depression will give you back your self-respect and confidence which often shrink in depression. But depression itself blocks you from doing it successfully.

What I suggest is to try coping mechanisms in depression first (you learn them in any decent depression therapy), then break your learning process into easy segments which don't make you feel overloaded and desperate.

Just remember an old Chinese proverb:

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

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