Depression may blur memory of physical symptoms.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Memory, Disorders of (Risk factors)
Depression, Mental (Complications and side effects)
Symptomatology (Risk factors)
Pub Date: 12/22/2009
Publication: Name: Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association Publisher: American Psychotherapy Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 American Psychotherapy Association ISSN: 1535-4075
Issue: Date: Winter, 2009 Source Volume: 12 Source Issue: 4
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 216961277

Depressed women tend to report more physical symptoms than they actually experience, suggests a new study by Jerry Suls, a professor at the University of Iowa. In this women-only study, volunteers were asked to answer a questionnaire designed to assess their levels of neuroticism and depression. For three weeks, Suls kept daily records of whether the women felt any of the 15 common physical symptoms, including aches and pain, upper-respiratory issues, and gastrointestinal problems. At the end of the three weeks, the women were asked to recollect how often they'd experience each symptom listed. Suls found that the volunteers who had a higher depression score at the start of the study tended to overstate the incidents of their symptoms.

Suls said that for 30 years the hypothesis has been that neuroticism is behind inflated reports of symptoms, but in reality, depression is likely a big player. He recommends that clinicians request that their patients write down their symptoms as they happen so that the patient and the doctor have a more accurate record of what goes on instead of relying on memory.

EmaxHealth (2009, October 28). Depression May Blur Memory of People With Physical Symptoms. Retrieved November 9, 2009, from http://www.emaxhealth. com/1357/7/34379/depression-may-blur-memory-people-physical-symptoms. html
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