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Depression is a combination of affective, cognitive, and behavioural symptoms. Each of these symptom types is probably related to different brain processes that are altered in the depressed state. A further line of investigation is in the exploring of these brain processes. Even if the symptoms presenting in the patients are not able to discriminate between the underlying aetiologies, it is possible that associated neurocognitive deficits do. Depression is a disorder of mood, cognition, and behaviour with associated disturbance of brain structure and function. Psychomotor retardation reflects ventral striatum-cortico-thalamic network dysfunction and is associated with severe depression. There is decreased hippocampal volume and disturbed memory and learning in depression. Amygdala- anterior cingulate networks normally responsible for emotion regulation are disturbed in depression. Cognitive distortions seen in depression have associated abnormalities in prefrontal regions. Neurocognitive characteristics can distinguish between unipolar and bipolar depressive disorders.

Original publication





Book title

Cognitive Neurology: A Clinical Textbook


Oxford University Press

Publication Date





Affective symptoms, Behavioural symptoms, Cognitive symptoms, Neurocognitive deficits, Psychomotor retardation, Underlying aetiologies