Memory impairments in posttraumatic stress disorder are related to depression

Deaprtment of Biological and Medical Psychology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.
Journal of Anxiety Disorders (Impact Factor: 2.96). 02/2008; 22(3):464-74. DOI: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2007.04.007
Source: PubMed


The present study focuses on verbal learning and memory alterations in refugees with posttraumatic stress disorder, and whether the alterations are related to attention, acquisition, storage, or retrieval. Twenty-one refugees exposed to war and political violence with chronic PTSD, were compared to an exposed control sample of 21 refugees without PTSD. No differences were found in attention span, but tests of verbal memory showed less efficient learning in the PTSD sample. Group differences in delayed recall could be explained by learning efficiency. No differences were seen in recognition memory. These results indicate that memory alterations in PTSD are related to impaired acquisition and less effective encoding of the memory material and not to impaired attention span and/or impaired retrieval. Controlling for specific PTSD symptom clusters and self-reported depression showed that the intrusion subscale and depressive reactions are the most important symptoms in understanding the memory alterations in PTSD.

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    • "In addition to amnesia for trauma-related stimuli, several studies have demonstrated cognitive deficits in different areas in individuals with PTSD. Deficits in verbal memory [4] [5], working memory and attention [6] [7] [8] [9] [10], processing speed [6], and nonverbal memory [11] [12] have been reported. A study reported short delay and long delay memory deficits in PTSD [13]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background. Studies using standard neuropsychological instruments have demonstrated memory deficits in patients with PTSD. We evaluated the efficacy and safety of the N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonist memantine in veterans with PTSD and cognitive impairment. Methods. Twenty-six veterans with PTSD and cognitive impairment received 16 weeks of memantine in an open-label fashion. Cognition was assessed using the Spatial Span, Logical Memory I, and Letter-Number Sequencing subtests of the Wechsler Memory Scale III and the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS). RBANS measures attention, language, visuospatial skills, and immediate and delayed memories. The Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), Hamilton Depression Scale (HAM-D), Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A), Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire (Q-LES-Q), and Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS) were secondary outcome measures. Results. There was a significant improvement in RBANS, both total and subscale scores (P < 0.05), over time. There was a reduction in total CAPS scores, avoidance/numbing symptoms (CAPS-C) and hyperarousal symptoms (CAPS-D), HAM-D, Q-LES-Q, and SDS scores. However, there was no reduction in reexperiencing (CAPS-B) and HAM-A scores. Memantine was well tolerated. Conclusions. Memantine improved cognitive symptoms, PTSD symptoms, and mood in veterans with PTSD. Randomized double-blind studies are needed to validate these preliminary observations.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Journal of aging research
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    • "Previous studies have reported that memory impairment is associated with PTSD symptoms.11,12,13,14) Several studies have shown a significant difference in verbal memory ability between people with PTSD and control groups (health group, major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder).15,16,17) But, to date, there has been minimal research regarding comparison of cognitive function between PTSD and AD. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Differential diagnosis between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and adjustment disorder (AD) is rather difficult, but very important to the assignment of appropriate treatment and prognosis. This study investigated methods to differentiate PTSD and AD. Methods Twenty-five people with PTSD and 24 people with AD were recruited. Memory tests, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory 2 (MMPI-2), and Beck's Depression Inventory were administered. Results There were significant decreases in immediate verbal recall and delayed verbal recognition in the participants with PTSD. The reduced memory functions of participants with PTSD were significantly influenced by depressive symptoms. Hypochondriasis, hysteria, psychopathic deviate, paranoia, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder scale of MMPI-2 classified significantly PTSD and AD group. Conclusion Our results suggest that verbal memory assessments and the MMPI-2 could be useful for discriminating between PTSD and AD.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience
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    • "Results of this study thus suggest a somewhat more impaired neurocognitive profile for PTSD patients with comorbid MDD. Our results confirm and extend the studies of Sachinvala et al. (2000) and Johnsen et al. (2008), which found verbal memory deficits, but not other neurocognitive performance, to be related to the severity of depressive symptoms in various PTSD populations. "
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    ABSTRACT: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) frequently co-occur after traumatic experiences and share neurocognitive disturbances in verbal memory and executive functioning. However, few attempts have been made to systematically assess the role of a comorbid MDD diagnosis in neuropsychological studies in PTSD. The purpose of the current study is to investigate neurocognitive deficits in PTSD patients with and without MDD. We hypothesized that PTSD patients with comorbid MDD (PTSD+MDD) would have significantly lower performance on measures of verbal memory and executive functioning than PTSD patients without MDD (PTSD-MDD). Participants included in this study were 140 treatment-seeking outpatients who had a diagnosis of PTSD after various single traumatic events and participated in a randomized controlled trial comparing different treatment types. Baseline neuropsychological data were compared between patients with PTSD+MDD (n=84) and patients with PTSD-MDD (n=56). The PTSD+MDD patients had more severe verbal memory deficits in learning and retrieving words than patients with PTSD alone. There were no differences between the groups in recall of a coherent paragraph, recognition, shifting of attention, and cognitive interference. The results of this study suggest that a more impaired neurocognitive profile may be associated with the presence of comorbid MDD, with medium-sized group differences for verbal memory but not for executive functioning. From a clinical standpoint, being aware that certain verbal memory functions are more restricted in patients with comorbid PTSD and MDD may be relevant for treatment outcome of trauma-focused psychotherapy.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · European Journal of Psychotraumatology
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