Negative thoughts crowd your mind, making you feel as though you’re spiraling into an unescapable hole. When you’re depressed, you constantly feel like you’re trapped and there’s no way out.
This may be because depression can control your mind and mood to the point that it will leave you with little room to think of other things. According to a new study, dysphoria — which is essentially the opposite of euphoria, and involves a general sense of dissatisfaction or unease — is linked to impaired memory and focusing problems. A dysphoric or depressed person focuses on “mood-congruent” thoughts, or thoughts that are consistent with one’s mental state (i.e. suicidal thoughts are consistent with severe depression).
Although two different things, dysphoria is often associated with clinical depression; both dysphoric individuals (DIs) and depressed people are more likely to keep their attention on “mood-congruent” information compared to people who aren’t depressed. In the study, the researchers carried out three tests to examine participants’ working memory and processing speed. They found that the DIs who were unable to move away from negative, spiraling thoughts were less likely to remember other neutral things.