Cognitive Difficulties

Note: you are receiving weekly MoodFx Tips because you subscribed through your MoodFx account at www.MoodFx.ca.  To unsubscribe to these Tips and other MoodFx alerts, such as Mood Check and Appointment reminders, simply sign in to your MoodFx account at www.MoodFx.ca and go to the Alerts page.  There, you can select whether you wish to subscribe or unsubscribe to any and all notifications.  If you are having difficulty, you can also email info@MoodFx.ca for assistance.

 

 

Are you getting the most out of MoodFx?  Check out what you might be missing!
MoodFx Tip – Week of May 15, 2017

guy man texting smartphone mobile technology hands bricks city outdoors african american smile smiling happy

photo credit: Startup Stock Photos, stocksnap.io

MoodFx helps you track your symptoms of depression and anxiety, but it’s more than just a mood tracker.  Find out about some of the MoodFx features you might be missing.

Track your work performance
  • If you are currently working or are self-employed, don’t forget that you can track your work performance.
    • If you have recently started a new job or returned to work after a period of absence, make sure you answer “yes” when MoodFx asks if your work or leave situation has changed since your last visit (this occurs at the start of every Mood Check).  This will prompt MoodFx to start tracking your work functioning.
    • Watch our instructional video, Check My Mood & Share my Results, for more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8g46ePf7fI

MoodFx LEAPS work fx page(Click to enlarge.)
The LEAPS questionnaire, shown above, assesses your work functioning.

Set up reminders
  • Use Alerts to remember your appointments and your regular mood checks.
Access the FAQ and Resources Pages
  • The FAQ has answers to lots of common questions, not just about how to use MoodFx but also about depression, anxiety, and what you can expect with treatment.
  • MoodFx also contains lots of information about other free, online resources that might also be helpful to you.  These include interactive, self-guided Cognitive Behavioural Therapy websites that you can work through at your own pace.  Find them on the Resources page.
Use MoodFx with your family doctor
  • Finally, MoodFx can help you work with your family doctor or other health professional.  Tracking your symptoms and functioning with MoodFx’s scientifically valid and clinically useful questionnaires can help you get the best treatment possible.

As always, if you have any questions or feedback about MoodFx, don’t hesitate to contact us, at: info@moodfx.ca.


 

Tips for sharpening your learning & memory from HelpGuide.org
MoodFx Tip – Week of April 10, 2017

people man balcony terrace urban city architecture building establishment apartment office business

Photo credit: Elaine Casap, stocksnap.io

 

HelpGuide.org, a non-profit resource with information about many topics relating to mental health and wellness, has a round-up of helpful tips for improving your thinking skills, especially your learning and memory:

  • Don’t skimp on exercise or sleep
  • Make time for friends and fun
  • Keep stress in check
  • Eat a brain-boosting diet
  • Give your brain a workout
  • Try mnemonic devices and memorization
  • Try strategies to enhance your ability to learn
  • Access further help & resources for improving your memory

Read more on these tips and how to implement them in your life.

 


 

Strategies for coping with cognitive symptoms of depression & anxiety
MoodFx Tip – Week of February 26, 2017

guy, man, people, back, wall, papers, work, working, business, bulletin board, thinking, hair, sweater, sketch, mockups

Photo credit: Startup Stock Photos, stocksnap.io

 

Cognitive symptoms of depression and anxiety vary from person to person, but often include:

  • difficulties with concentrating or paying attention
  • trouble remembering or learning new things
  • difficulties making decisions, planning, or solving problems
  • feeling like your thoughts are slowed down
  • difficulties expressing your thoughts with words.

Here are some strategies you can try to deal with those challenges that apply to you. Keep using the strategies that work best, and brainstorm your own.

  • difficulties concentrating or paying attention
    • When your attention or your thoughts wander, try taking a short break: take a few deep breaths, stretch, or going for a short walk outside. Don’t be afraid to take breaks when you aren’t able to focus; they will help you be more productive and effective in the long run.
    • Give yourself plenty of time to tackle challenging tasks, such as studying for a test or completing a big work assignment. Seek out accommodation ahead of time if you think you might not be able to meet a deadline.
    • Try to break large, daunting tasks into smaller ones you can complete in shorter blocks of time over several days instead of all at once. For example, rather than plan to “clean your apartment this weekend,” schedule to tackle one room or even one task per room every few days.
    • Remain well-rested by getting adequate sleep each night. If you are having difficulties falling or staying asleep, talk to your doctor about strategies and other ways you can get the sleep you need.
  • trouble remembering or learning new things
    • Try keeping a small notebook (or use your smart phone, if you have one) where you can record new information and other points to remember throughout your day. At the end of each day, take 5 minutes to review your notes and transfer them to a calendar, to-do list, or other permanent location so you won’t lose the information. Start a new page in your notebook each day as needed.
  • difficulties making decisions, planning, or solving problems
    • If you are comfortable, you might want to ask for specific supports from family, friends, or coworkers while you are having difficulties making decisions, planning, or solving problems. For example, you might ask your supervisor to help you prioritize your workload or break down a large project into smaller steps, or ask a partner or friend to help you make and follow a weekly cleaning schedule or meal plan.
    • If possible, you might decide to postpone making big or important decisions when you are working through a moderate or severe depressive or anxious episode. Depression and anxiety can be overwhelming, and many people see their situations differently once their symptoms have improved.
  • feeling like your thoughts are slowed down, difficulties expressing your thoughts with words
    • If you are comfortable, let trusted family and friends know when you are struggling to follow conversations, express yourself, or otherwise communicate effectively. This can take the pressure off and help them understand what you’re experiencing.

 


 

Check out a free webinar: Cognition in Mood Disorders
MoodFx Tip – Week of January 9, 2017

Are troubles with concentration, memory, or planning a major part of your depression or anxiety? You might want to check out this free webinar from the CREST.BD Bipolar Wellness Centre on cognition in mood disorders, which includes and tips and resources to help you manage and improve cognitive symptoms.

Check it out below:

Note: Although bipolar depression and other mood disorders such as major depression (sometimes called unipolar depression) share a lot in common, they also have some important differences. For example, bipolar depression is often treated with different medications than other kinds of depression.  Some of the information in this video therefore applies specifically to bipolar disorder and bipolar depression.  If you have any questions about the information provided in this video, your symptoms, or your treatment, please consult your family doctor or other health care provider.

If you want to learn more, you can find lots of other cognition resources on the CREST.BD Wellness website.

BDWellnessCenter_Logo_01


 

Are you getting the most out of MoodFx?  Check out what you might be missing!
MoodFx Tip – Week of November 28, 2016

MoodFx helps you to easily track your symptoms of depression and anxiety, but it’s more than just a mood tracker.  Find out about some of the MoodFx features you might be missing.

Track your work performance
  • If you are currently working or are self-employed, don’t forget that you can track your work performance.
    • If you have recently started a new job or returned to work after a period of absence, make sure you answer “yes” when MoodFx asks if your work or leave situation has changed since your last visit (this occurs at the start of every Mood Check).  This will prompt MoodFx to start tracking your work functioning.
    • Watch our instructional video, Check My Mood & Share my Results, for more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8g46ePf7fI

MoodFx LEAPS work fx page(Click to enlarge.)
The LEAPS questionnaire, shown above, assesses your work functioning.

Set up reminders
  • Use Alerts to remember your appointments and your regular mood checks.
Access the FAQ and Resources Pages
  • The FAQ has answers to lots of common questions, not just about how to use MoodFx but also about depression, anxiety, and what you can expect with treatment.
  • MoodFx also contains lots of information about other free, online resources that might also be helpful to you.  These include interactive, self-guided Cognitive Behavioural Therapy websites that you can work through at your own pace.  Find them on the Resources page.
Use MoodFx with your family doctor
  • Finally, MoodFx can help you work with your family doctor or other health professional.  Tracking your symptoms and functioning with MoodFx’s scientifically valid and clinically useful questionnaires can help you get the best treatment possible.

As always, if you have any questions or feedback about MoodFx, don’t hesitate to contact us, at info@moodfx.ca.


 

Tips for sharpening your learning & memory from HelpGuide.org
MoodFx Tip – Week of October 24, 2016

bikes, bicycles, cycling, boys, kids, children, people, fun, street, road, pavement, trees, forest, shadows, sunshine

Photo credit: Pawel Kadysz, stocksnap.io

 

HelpGuide.org, a non-profit resource with information about many topics relating to mental health and wellness, has a round-up of helpful tips for improving your thinking skills, especially your learning and memory:

  • Don’t skimp on exercise or sleep
  • Make time for friends and fun
  • Keep stress in check
  • Eat a brain-boosting diet
  • Give your brain a workout
  • Try mnemonic devices and memorization
  • Try strategies to enhance your ability to learn
  • Access further help & resources for improving your memory

Click on the link below to read more about these tips and how to implement them in your life:

www.helpguide.org/articles/memory/how-to-improve-your-memory.htm


 

BD Wellness Centre | Cognition, Quality of Life, & Self-Management Strategies for Improvement
MoodFx Tip – Week of September 19, 2016

March 30, 2015 marked the second international World Bipolar Day. Fittingly, the Collaborative Research Team for Psychosocial Issues in Bipolar Disorder (CREST.BD), a research team based at the University of British Columbia, chose this day to officially release their new, free, online Wellness Centre for people with experiences of Bipolar Disorder.

(Bipolar Disorder, also called bipolar depression, involves periods of low mood/depression as well as periods of highly elevated mood, known as mania.)

The BD Wellness Centre contains self-management strategies and resources for 14 different areas of life (e.g., Sleep, Relationships, Self-esteem, Identity, etc.) found to be most important to people with this mood disorder.

Many of the self-management strategies and resources available through the Wellness Centre will be helpful for people with unipolar depression.

This week, we highlight the Cognition area of life, which is also an area of focus on MoodFx.  An excerpt:

If, together with your healthcare team, you’ve come to the conclusion that you have cognitive challenges that have little to do with medications, you may want to try some of the following cognitive rehabilitation strategies. These are activities that help restore cognition (i.e., your thinking skills) to a healthy state. Cognitive rehabilitation includes managing cognitive problems with three different methods1: remediation techniques, compensatory strategies, and adaptive approaches. Having an assessment or evaluation by a healthcare professional can help you decide which unique approach may be most helpful for you.

The page also links to external resources on cognition, such as:

  • CogniFit: an online cognitive training program provides tools to measure cognitive skills, and build on these skills through entertaining games and tracking progress; and
  • Lumosity: a similar online cognitive training website, using interactive games to “train memory and attention” through a “personalized training program.”

You can read and write reviews of the tools and resources you’ve tried so other users will know which ones might be helpful, or not.

Check out the entire page at: http://www.bdwellness.com/Quality-of-Life-Areas/Cognition.

CREST.BD


 

This week, try exercise to improve your cognition
MoodFx Tip – Week of August 20, 2016

basketball, court, sports, athletes, fitness, exercise, fun, jumping, reflection, puddle, oslo

photocredit: Eric Haidara/stocksnap.io

Exercise is beneficial for us in a multitude of ways, improving our moods, our sleep, and of course our cardiovascular and overall physical health.  But did you know that exercise has also been shown to have beneficial effects for our thinking?

The best kinds of brain-boosting exercise are “rich” activities that combine both aerobics and strength training–think hiking with a backpack, rock climbing, yoga, or swimming.

And in some ways, less is more: intense workouts running over an hour can lead to dehydration and over-fatigue, both of which have a negative impact on cognition.  Eat enough nutritious foods and stay hydrated to avoid these negative effects.

This long weekend, try to set aside an hour or two to do an active activity you enjoy.

 

Tips for multitasking, thinking, and working better
MoodFx Tip – Week of November 1, 2015

Image credit: kosmonaut on Flickr

This week, we’re sharing some tips for multi-tasking, thinking, and working better from Dr. Thara Vayali in her article Stress and the Multi-Tasking Brain.

Getting ready for work, listening to the news, making a mental list of things to do for the day, checking emails, tidying up–multitasking has become a regular part of our daily lives.  Multi-tasking, which involves switching your attention between several important tasks at once, is often a more stressful way to work and get things done. We can usually accomplish more by allowing for periods of more focused work, where we can concentrate deeply on just one task at a time.  However, when multitasking is unavoidable, the following tips can help:

  • [If you have a billion pressing things to do], get it all out on a whiteboard or paper or index cards that you can see regularly. This isn’t a list, it’s a brain dump.
  • Consistently misplacing things? Keep regularly used objects in the same space. Label irregularly used items. Use muscle memory.
  • Trying to remember to do that one thing today? Place a reminder object or note near the door, or a place where you will look.
  • For clothes, events and meals, make a choice once and stick with it for a week, a month, or a season.
  • At work, choose to block out alerts and other communications while you focus on a task for a given amount of time.

Fore more information on the different ways our brains switch between work modes and tips for working smarter, check out the entire article here.


 

Strategies for managing cognitive difficulties.
MoodFx Tip – Week of Aug. 31, 2015

If you find you your usual ability to think, concentrate, make decisions, plan, and remember information is affected by your depression, you aren’t alone. There are 3 broadly different approaches (each with some evidence to support their efficacy) to addressing these troubles that mental health care providers might use.

Remediation Techniques: Remediation techniques are drills and exercises designed to improve cognitive difficulties by directly practicing a cognitive skill. These exercises may be done with paper-and-pencil or be computerized/online.

Compensatory Strategies:  Rather than boosting cognitive skills directly, compensatory strategies focus on using a person’s cognitive strengths to make up for areas with which they might be having difficulty.  These strategies involve recognizing your strengths and how you like to learn. One example is using mnemonic (memory) devices and tricks (relying on creativity and verbal memory) to remember other information, such as a to-do list.

Adaptive Approaches: Finally, adaptive approaches focus on making changes in one’s environment, or leveraging resources in the environment, also helping to compensate for certain cognitive difficulties.  A simple example is keeping lists (either on paper or electronically, such as notes in your cellphone) for daily to-do tasks, shopping, or reminders.

To read more about these approaches and how to implement them, check out the Bipolar Wellness Centre’s section on cognition in Mood Disorders and how you can take action: http://www.bdwellness.com/Quality-of-Life-Areas/Cognition

 


 

Learning more about your condition can help you manage it better. Attend a free public lecture hosted by the Mood Disorders Centre this August!
MoodFx Tip – Week of Aug. 2, 2015

Psychoeducation refers to education around mental health and wellness, usually for people with a mental health condition and their families, and is a basic and fundamental part of learning to manage your well-being.

If you live in Vancouver and are interested in furthering your psychoeducation, you can attend a free public lecture on depression and eMental Health, hosted by the Mood Disorders Centre and presented by Mr. Aidan Scott and Dr. Matthew Chow.  All are welcome to attend, but registration is required and seating is limited!

When: Friday, August 21, 2015, 12noon – 1:15pm
Where: Life Sciences Centre, UBC
2350 Health Sciences Mall V6T 1Z3
University of British Columbia

life sciences centre atrium

Mr. Aidan Scott is the founder of SpeakBOX, an organization dedicated to bringing awareness and innovation to mental health. His experience comes from being a survivor of a mental illness and having experienced recovery in both the youth and adult mental health systems.  Dr. Matthew Chow is a child and adolescent psychiatrist with expertise in eMental Health.  He led the expansion of psychiatric telehealth services at BC Children’s Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital.

Our presenters will be discussing new developments in online and mobile health apps with a focus on youth mental health.

This public lecture is part of a health professional education program, the Mood Disorders Centre Clinical DayPay parking is available at the Thunderbird Parkade and the Health Sciences Parkade at UBC.

If you would like to attend this free public talk, please register here.


 

Check out another free webinar: Cognition in Mood Disorders
MoodFx Tip – Week of July 6, 2015

Last week, we featured a free webinar on work in bipolar disorder, hosted by Dr. Raymond Lam (if you haven’t already, check it out on our Work Life tips page).  This week, we’re sharing another free session hosted by another member of the Mood Disorders team, psychologist Dr. Ivan Torres.  Dr. Torres’ webinar addresses  cognitive aspects of mood disorders and tips and resources to help you maintain and optimize your thinking skills.

Check it out below:

Note: Although bipolar depression and other mood disorders such as major depression (sometimes called unipolar depression) share a lot in common, they also have some important differences. For example, bipolar depression is often treated with different medications than other kinds of depression.  Some of the information in this video therefore applies specifically to bipolar disorder and bipolar depression.  If you have any questions about the information provided in this video, your symptoms, or your treatment, please consult your family doctor or other health care provider.

If you want to learn more, you can find lots of other cognition resources on the CREST.BD Wellness website.

 


 

Are you getting the most out of MoodFx?  Check out what you might be missing!
MoodFx Tip – Week of June 8, 2015

MoodFx helps you to easily track your symptoms of depression and anxiety, but it’s more than just a mood tracker!  Find out about some of the MoodFx features you might be missing.

Track your work performance
  • If you are currently working or are self-employed, don’t forget that you can track your work performance.
    • If you have recently started a new job or returned to work after a period of absence, make sure you answer “yes” when MoodFx asks if your work or leave situation has changed since your last visit (this occurs at the start of every Mood Check).  This will prompt MoodFx to start tracking your work functioning.
    • Watch our instructional video, Check My Mood & Share my Results, for more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8g46ePf7fI

MoodFx LEAPS work fx page(Click to enlarge.)
The LEAPS questionnaire, shown above, assesses your work functioning.

Set up reminders
  • Use Alerts to remember your appointments and your regular mood checks.
Access the FAQ and Resources Pages
  • The FAQ has answers to lots of common questions, not just about how to use MoodFx but also about depression, anxiety, and what you can expect with treatment.
  • MoodFx also contains lots of information about other free, online resources that might also be helpful to you.  These include interactive, self-guided Cognitive Behavioural Therapy websites that you can work through at your own pace.  Find them on the Resources page.
Use MoodFx with your family doctor
  • Finally, MoodFx can help you work with your family doctor or other health professional.  Tracking your symptoms and functioning with MoodFx’s scientifically valid and clinically useful questionnaires can help you get the best treatment possible.

 

As always, if you have any questions or feedback about MoodFx, don’t hesitate to contact us, at info@moodfx.ca.

 


BD Wellness Centre | Cognition, Quality of Life, & Self-Management Strategies for Improvement
MoodFx Tip – Week of April 5, 2015

March 30, 2015 marked the second international World Bipolar Day. Fittingly, the Collaborative Research Team for Psychosocial Issues in Bipolar Disorder (CREST.BD), a research team based at the University of British Columbia, chose this day to officially release their new, free, online Wellness Centre for people with experiences of Bipolar Disorder.

(Bipolar Disorder, also called bipolar depression, involves periods of low mood/depression as well as periods of highly elevated mood, known as mania.)

The BD Wellness Centre contains self-management strategies and resources for 14 different areas of life (e.g., Sleep, Relationships, Self-esteem, Identity, etc.) found to be most important to people with this mood disorder.

Many of the self-management strategies and resources available through the Wellness Centre will be helpful for people with unipolar depression.

This week, we highlight the Cognition area of life, which is also an area of focus on MoodFx.  An excerpt:

If, together with your healthcare team, you’ve come to the conclusion that you have cognitive challenges that have little to do with medications, you may want to try some of the following cognitive rehabilitation strategies. These are activities that help restore cognition (i.e., your thinking skills) to a healthy state. Cognitive rehabilitation includes managing cognitive problems with three different methods1: remediation techniques, compensatory strategies, and adaptive approaches. Having an assessment or evaluation by a healthcare professional can help you decide which unique approach may be most helpful for you.

The page also links to external resources on cognition, such as:

  • CogniFit: an online cognitive training program provides tools to measure cognitive skills, and build on these skills through entertaining games and tracking progress; and
  • Lumosity: a similar online cognitive training website, using interactive games to “train memory and attention” through a “personalized training program.”

You can read and write reviews of the tools and resources you’ve tried so other users will know which ones might be helpful, or not.

Check out the entire page at: http://www.bdwellness.com/Quality-of-Life-Areas/Cognition.

CREST.BD

 


Strategies for coping with cognitive symptoms
MoodFx Tip – Week of March 9, 2015

This week, check out these two articles from Everyday Health, chock-full of helpful tips for beating brain fog and staying sharp:

7 Ways to Boost your Brain Power, By Marie Suszynski, Medically reviewed by Niya Jones MD, MPH

Conquering Depression: 9 Ways to Boost Your Brain – And Your Mood, by Majid Fotuhi, MD, PhD

 

For family members and friends looking to support their loved ones who might be having difficulties with their thinking due to depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, check out this clear, concise handbook:

Dealing with Cognitive Dysfunction Associated with psychiatric disabilities: A handbook for families and friends of individuals with psychiatric disorders by Alice Medalia, Ph.D.and Nadine Revheim, Ph.D.

 

Excerpt:

What can family members do to help improve memory?

Memory problems may be present if you notice your family member having difficulties with some of the following items.

(Use this list as a checklist for your family member. )

  • forgets to take medications as prescribed
  • takes too much medication
  • does not keep scheduled appointments
  • does not follow through on a plan they have
  • cannot find items around the house
  • loses track of money that is spent
  • needs reminders about important dates (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays)
  • repeats questions over and over
  • has difficulty traveling around
  • cannot remember directions or instructions
  • does not learn new information easily
  • forgets peoples’ names
  • does not remember current events
  • forgets familiar procedures

 

What can family members do to help improve attention?

Problems with attention may be present if you notice your family member having difficulties with some of the following items.

(Use this list as a checklist for your family member. )

  • seems confused or absent-minded
  • seems indifferent to the environment
  • loses track of time
  • cannot concentrate or understand what is read
  • cannot participate in a conversation
  • interrupts others when they are talking
  • cannot remember what they just said to someone
  • gets distracted in the middle of things
  • frequently says, “I’m bored”
  • tries to do too many things simultaneously
  • gets easily overwhelmed
  • wanders around in an aimless manner

 

What can family members do to help improve critical thinking skills?

(Use this list as a checklist for your family member. )

  • responds too quickly, impulsively
  • does not seem to understand consequences of actions
  • repeat mistakes without apparent learning from previous errors
  • has trouble getting things started independently
  • does not like to have routines changed
  • has trouble adjusting to new demands
  • experiences difficulties with surprises or unexpected events
  • does not like to make decisions
  • never plans ahead
  • seems indifferent to figuring out practical problems
  • immediately asks for assistance
  • does not like to ask for help even when having difficulty
  • does things in disorderly or disorganized manner
  • frequently does not finish what is started
  • appears “lazy” and poorly motivated to figure things out
  • becomes rigid and concrete when errors are pointed out does not evaluate actions that may be dangerous
  • cannot see one’s own mistakes
  • does not seek out alternatives or options

 

 


This week, try exercise to improve your cognition
MoodFx Tip – Week of February 9, 2015

Exercise is beneficial for us in a multitude of ways, improving our moods, our sleep, and of course our cardiovascular and overall physical health.  But did you know that exercise has also been shown to have beneficial effects for our thinking?

The best kinds of brain-boosting exercise are “rich” activities that combine both aerobics and strength training–think hiking with a backpack, rock climbing, yoga, or swimming.

And in some ways, less is more: intense workouts running over an hour can lead to dehydration and over-fatigue, both of which have a negative impact on cognition.  Eat enough nutritious foods and stay hydrated to avoid these negative effects.

This long weekend, set aside an hour or two to get moving, and you might just feel it with your brain as well as your body.


 

Strategies for coping with cognitive symptoms
MoodFx Tip – Week of January 12, 2015

Cognitive symptoms of depression and anxiety vary from person to person, but often include:

  • difficulties with concentrating or paying attention
  • trouble remembering or learning new things
  • difficulties making decisions, planning, or solving problems
  • feeling like your thoughts are slowed down
  • difficulties expressing your thoughts with words.

Here are some strategies you can try to deal with those challenges that apply to you. Keep using the strategies that work best, and brainstorm your own.

  • difficulties concentrating or paying attention
    • When your attention or your thoughts wander, try taking a short break: take a few deep breaths, stretch, or going for a short walk outside. Don’t be afraid to take breaks when you aren’t able to focus; they will help you be more productive and effective in the long run.
    • Give yourself plenty of time to tackle challenging tasks, such as studying for a test or completing a big work assignment. Seek out accommodation ahead of time if you think you might not be able to meet a deadline.
    • Try to break large, daunting tasks into smaller ones you can complete in shorter blocks of time over several days instead of all at once. For example, rather than plan to “clean your apartment this weekend,” schedule to tackle one room or even one task per room every few days.
    • Remain well-rested by getting adequate sleep each night. If you are having difficulties falling or staying asleep, talk to your doctor about strategies and other ways you can get the sleep you need.
  • trouble remembering or learning new things
    • Try keeping a small notebook (or use your smart phone, if you have one) where you can record new information and other points to remember throughout your day. At the end of each day, take 5 minutes to review your notes and transfer them to a calendar, to-do list, or other permanent location so you won’t lose the information. Start a new page in your notebook each day as needed.
  • difficulties making decisions, planning, or solving problems
    • If you are comfortable, you might want to ask for specific supports from family, friends, or coworkers while you are having difficulties making decisions, planning, or solving problems. For example, you might ask your supervisor to help you prioritize your workload or break down a large project into smaller steps, or ask a partner or friend to help you make and follow a weekly cleaning schedule or meal plan.
    • If possible, you might decide to postpone making big or important decisions when you are working through a moderate or severe depressive or anxious episode. Depression and anxiety can be overwhelming, and many people see their situations differently once their symptoms have improved.
  • feeling like your thoughts are slowed down, difficulties expressing your thoughts with words
    • If you are comfortable, let trusted family and friends know when you are struggling to follow conversations, express yourself, or otherwise communicate effectively. This can take the pressure off and help them understand what you’re experiencing.

What other strategies do you use to cope with cognitive difficulties?  Email info@moodfx.ca and your tips might be featured on our website to help other MoodFx users.

 


The importance of cognitive symptoms of depression
MoodFx Tip – Week of December 13, 2014

Clinical depression is an illness that involves more than just low mood and sadness. It is a medical condition with several emotional, physical, behavioural, and cognitive symptoms, including:

  • Emotional symptoms: sadness and low mood, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, irritability, guilt or feelings of worthlessness, emotional numbing
  • Physical symptoms: changes in sleep, such as trouble falling or staying asleep or oversleeping, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, fatigue, low energy, and body aches and pains
  • Behavioural symptoms: avoiding family friends, crying, stopping usual activities such as daily routines, exercise, and self-care, increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Cognitive symptoms: difficulties concentrating or paying attention, trouble remembering or learning new things, difficulties making decisions, planning, or solving problems, feeling like your thoughts are slowed down

Cognitive symptoms of depression often receive less attention than the emotional and physical symptoms of this difficult illness, despite their prevalence and potential for negative impact on patients’ daily lives and functioning.

Fortunately, patients usually experience improvements in the “brain fog” of depression as other symptoms improve with proper treatment.  If you have concerns about changes in your concentration, memory, decision-making, planning or problem-solving skills, you should discuss these changes with your doctor or other health care provider.

 

 

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