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Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Depression Related Memory Loss

05/15/2006

Question:

My husband, 58, has signifcant memory loss. Testing has ruled out everything but depression related memory loss and alzheimer`s. He has been on Lexapro 30mg for 17 months and on Wellbutrin 300mg for the last 8 months of that time period. He has not shown any significant or long lasting improvement. How long does it generally take for memory loss to be reversed if it is thought to be depression related and the depression is being treated.

Answer:

If a depression is being treated appropriately, then symptoms usually begin to show improvement within weeks.  Full recovery may take several months.  I would encourage you to discuss this with your physician.  If you have seen no improvement in ANY symptoms in this time, then the diagnosis may not be correct.  However, depression is common in early alzheimer's disease, as patients struggle with the knowledge and experience of the ongoing memory loss.  Antidepressants may not help the memory loss significantly, but will help other symptoms.

Good Luck.

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Response by:

Nancy   Elder, MD Nancy Elder, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati