Chrysalis Not For Profit recently read about a study carried out by researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School. This research showed that a lack of ability to focus is a symptom of depression.

Depression is a common mental health issue

Depression is a common mental health problem that can change a person’s life. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists one in five people will become depressed at some point in their lives.

Many people who develop depression say that their ability to think is less sharp than it used to be. A study conducted by a research team at the University of Michigan Medical School recently proved that this is a symptom of the mental health condition.

The ability to think is “less sharp” in people with depression

The Daily Mail recently wrote that the study analysed 612 women, over two-thirds of whom had been diagnosed with depression or bi-polar disorder. They asked each patient to react quickly when certain letters flashed briefly on a screen among a random sequence of other letters, in order to measure their sustained concentration.

The researchers found that many of those women who were diagnosed with depression or bi-polar disorder did as well on the test as healthy participants. However, every woman who scored in the bottom 5% on the test had depression or bi-polar disorder.

Scientists examine brain activity in women with depression

The team scanned the brains of 52 women whilst they took the tests. They found higher levels of activity in the right posterior cortexes of women with depression, and lower levels of activity in the right posterior parietal cortexes of women with bi-polar disorder than the average for a healthy woman. This is the brain’s “executive function” which controls a person’s ability to reason and solve problems, as well as their working memory.

Senior author Scott Langenecker, formerly of the University of Michigan, and now of the University of Illinois, explained how this raises questions over traditional diagnoses of mental health issues. Langenecker said that “the research is a recognition that we need to rely more heavily on what these neurobiological results are telling us – mental diseases have more overlap in the basic brain and genetic signatures.”

Chrysalis Not For Profit

Although more research is needed, these findings have shed more light on depression. However the UK still needs more counsellors to help people overcome mental health issues such as depression. You can help people with mental health problems by training to become a counsellor through a number of Chrysalis courses offered by Chrysalis Not For Profit.

Established in 1998, Chrysalis Not For Profit is now the UK’s market-leading trainer in talking therapies. We offer creative, enjoyable and relaxed courses, fully accredited by the relevant professional bodies on a part-time basis to fit around your commitments.

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