The Effects of Depression on Learning

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Last Updated on May 28, 2021 by

Depression is a type of mental disorder. It has been linked to various other psychological and physical health problems, including learning difficulties.

Depression is a common disease that affects over 264 million people worldwide. Being depressed is distinct from regular mood swings and short-term emotional reactions to daily difficulties.

Depression can be dangerous to one’s health significantly if it lasts for a long time and has a moderate or extreme severity. It can make the affected person suffer much and perform poorly at work, school, and the family. Being depressed can lead to suicide in the worst-case scenario. Every year, almost 800,000 people die by suicide. Individuals aged 15 to 29 years have suicide as the second leading cause of death. Even though there are successful therapies for mental illnesses, between 76 and 85 percent of people in third-world countries do not receive care.

Lack of funding, a shortage of qualified health-care professionals, and the social stigma associated with mental illnesses are all obstacles to successful treatment. Inaccurate evaluation is another roadblock to successful treatment. Individuals who experience depression are usually misdiagnosed and prescribed antidepressants in countries of all income levels. Those who do not have the disease are often misdiagnosed and prescribed antidepressants. Depression and other mental health problems are becoming more common around the world. In May 2013, WHO’s Assembly passed a resolution that called for a systematic and organized response to mental illnesses at the national level.

How Learning Is Affected by Depression

People who are often depressed find it difficult to perform activities requiring advanced motor and cognitive abilities. They can be perplexed, disorganized, distracted, or easily irritated. Also, simple daily tasks become challenging. Students with these disorders are at risk of poor academic results and resistance to school-related activities. This may include a lack of classroom interaction, strained relationships with peers and instructors, and a loss of enthusiasm in pursuing interests or making plans for the future. Their learning is often hampered because depression and anxiety can impair working memory, making it difficult to remember new knowledge and recall past experiences. 

Anxiety and depression harm academic performance and promote underachievement. Students with high stress score lower on IQ and achievement tests. Depression impairs one’s ability to reason clearly. By interfering with healthy thought processes, this mental health issue impacts a person’s ability to concentrate and make decisions. It affects the brain, and many people who are depressed have memory problems and have trouble remembering events or facts. Other depressive symptoms exacerbate learning difficulties. Some people with depression become irritable, irritated, nervous, and unable to concentrate. Others discover that they have lost interest in hobbies, sports, and learning new skills.

Mood swings make it difficult to pay attention, and feelings of despair or low self-esteem can lead people to think they shouldn’t bother learning new things or that they simply can’t. Depression affects sleep, and insomnia and hypersomnia can wreak havoc on one’s mental wellbeing and ability to work. The propensity to self-medicate with alcohol or other medications is one of the dangers of untreated depression. Symptoms of being depressed can affect many aspects of a child’s life, including learning and school results.

The Following Are Some Ways Where Being Depressed May Have a Significant Effect on Learning.

  • Motivation is Lacking: Depressed children lose interest in all the things they care about the most. One of the first things to dwindle is schoolwork motivation, which is also not among the things that young people care about most. Lack of commitment and motivation contributes to inefficiency, resulting in lower grades.
  • Rage and Irritability: Increased irritability and frustration are more common symptoms of depression in children. A usually submissive student can become combative with the teacher or other students.
  • Fatigue is a Common Occurrence: Depression can make it challenging for you to sleep or cause you to sleep too much. People that are depressed, on the other hand, can feel exhausted the next day even after a good night’s sleep.
  • Concentration Gets Lost: A child’s capacity to focus is harmed by being depressed. Concentration issues are often blamed on ADHD, but some students may be depressed or suffer from an anxiety disorder that compromises their capability to concentrate.
  • The Need to Eat: Depression causes some children to lose their appetite. They can miss breakfast or eat very little of it. Over a day, their blood sugar and energy levels will drop.

It is essential for parents to understand that depression has far-reaching consequences. Being depressed has been shown to have a detrimental effect on academic performance and social and familial relationships. It has the potential to lead to suicide in the worst-case scenario.

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The Correlation Between Being Depressed, Health, and Learning Abilities

Depression often co-occurs with other psychological issues such as anxiety or drug abuse. It can either cause or result in these problems. “ About 20% of Americans those with a substance use disorder also have a mood or stress disorder.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports. These co-occurring problems, particularly substance and alcohol abuse, can significantly impact a person’s memory and learning capacity.

Physical health, depression, and learning abilities are all intertwined. As stated by National Institute on Aging, physical activity improves memory; 2 Memory may suffer if a person is unable to do so due to physical or mental health issues. When physical and mental health problems co-occur, people are at higher risk of being depressed and depression-related learning issues.

“The risk of depression is often higher in people with severe medical conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes,” according to Mental Health America.

Memory, learning ability, and overall mental health all suffer as physical health deteriorates.

How Learning Disabilities and Being Depressed Are Linked

Learning difficulties may be exacerbated by being depressed. Learning disabilities can aggravate or trigger symptoms of being depressed. Living with a learning disability causes stress and frustration, which impacts one’s wellbeing. Without access to healthy coping skills, a person may feel discouraged, angry, depressed, or even worthless without even realizing it.

Clinical depression can occur when feelings of sadness, helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness last for more than a few days or are very intense in youth and adults with learning disabilities. Depression is a chronic condition that can affect a person’s mental health and wellbeing in various ways. Being depressed makes it hard to concentrate, remember facts, and make decisions, in addition to the emotional symptoms. It is imperative to book a psychologist when you start experiencing these symptoms because other disorders, such as attention deficit disorder, can cause the same or similar symptoms as being depressed but require different treatment.

Children with learning disabilities can feel misunderstood, different, or excluded from their peers. All of these emotions may contribute to being depressed. Learning disorders and psychiatric depression may also trigger feelings of shame and worthlessness. Clinical disorder or other disorders may be ruled out by a medical professional. They will even tell you whether you are depressed and have a learning disability.

According to research, individuals with learning disabilities are more likely than the general population to suffer from a mental health problem like depression. Individuals with learning disabilities tend to be depressed due to a lack of psychological and material support to cope with challenges and a lack of productive activities in their lives (Feeling Down improving people’s mental health with learning disabilities, 2013).

Although about 6% of the general population suffers from depression in any given year (NHS), statistics show that up to 20% of people with learning disabilities suffer from it (Sikabofori and Anupama, 2012).

Why You Should Treat Depression

When a Person Has Co-Occurring Depressive Symptoms and Learning Difficulties, He or She Is at Risk of Developing Any of The Following Conditions:

  • Lack of desire and encouragement due to inability to find happiness.
  • Physical and mental exhaustion
  • Violent and aggressive actions
  • Confusion, despair, and a sense of helplessness
  • Suicidal ideas or behaviours
  • Having trouble focusing or finishing tasks
  • Addiction, substance misuse, and drug dependency
  • Isolation from others or issues with relationships
  • Workplace issues, unemployment, or financial difficulties

These problems have an impact on a person’s quality of life. Depression, learning disabilities, and co-occurring health problems may be addressed. When it comes to fitness, happiness, and overall wellbeing, having the right support, and getting it now, makes all the difference. There are long-term consequences for students if anxiety and being depressed are not detected and treated correctly.

The focus, interpretation, concentration, memory, social interaction, and physical health of a student with one of these conditions may all be negatively affected.

Both of these elements contribute to a student’s academic performance and achievement. An anxious child is more likely to concentrate their attention on items that they consider to be a potential threat than on what is relevant, such as classroom learning. Individuals will often perceive ordinary events as risky or threatening, and they will often presume the worst.

When an individual has anxiety or depression, most of their mental ability is used to generate and process unsettling thoughts. This can cause difficulty concentrating on positive thoughts and be exhausting for the student, reducing their learning ability.

Undiagnosed depression or anxiety can make students feel as if they are continually missing out on opportunities, which can lead to substance abuse, conduct issues, further mental health issues, and even suicide. If these problems can be found when the child is still in school, there is a greater chance of recovery and preventative care, which can help avoid the above effects of depression.

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