Cognitive Impairment in Patients With Depression: Awareness, Assessment, and Management

J Clin Psychiatry. 2017 Nov/Dec;78(9):1383-1394. doi: 10.4088/JCP.tk16043ah5c.


​​ Cognitive impairment is a common, often persistent, symptom of major depressive disorder (MDD) that is disproportionately represented in patients who have not returned to full psychosocial functioning. The ultimate goal of treatment in depression is full functional recovery, and assessing patients for cognitive impairment and selecting treatments that address cognitive dysfunction should lead to improved functional outcomes. Unfortunately, many clinicians use screening and assessment tools that are not suited for measuring cognitive impairment in patients with depression. The new THINC-it assessment tool is the first instrument that provides objective and subjective data on dysfunction in all the cognitive domains commonly affected by depression. In regard to treatment, several pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions have been investigated as treatments for cognitive dysfunction in individuals with MDD. However very few studies of treatments for cognitive function in patients with MDD have been adequate, in terms of sample size and study methods, to guide clinical practice. The best evidence supports the moderate efficacy of some antidepressants, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and exercise. ​​​​.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / complications*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / drug therapy
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / complications*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Humans


  • Antidepressive Agents