anxiety and false memories
Our memory is influenced by many emotional aspects, such as depression and anxiety. These many aspects affect memory accuracy and can cause memory distortion. Working memory is vital ineffectively managing chunks of information in the present. Difficulty with memory can cause major problems in your work and personal life. When we struggle with our memory it can lead to mistakes,difficulty concentrating, and problems multitasking.
What are false memories?
A false memory is a mental experience that is mistakenly taken to be an accurate representation of an event in one's past. Our memories can be false in minor ways, such as believing you left your wallet in the kitchen when it's really in the living room. False memories can also be false in major ways that can have profound implications on ourselves and others, such as mistakenly believing you were the originator of an idea.
What is the relation between anxiety and false memories?
In a study conducted by Coli, et. al, (2015) they concluded that individuals with high trait anxiety enhance the elaboration of negative emotional materials. This eventually leads to people misremembering causal antecedents of negative events as previously experienced while they were onlyinferred.
Additionally, a study conducted by Brust-Renck, et. al, (2017), found that social anxiety may have a significant impact on emotional memory accuracy.
Because working memory is vital to our everyday functions. if you are dealing with a high level of worry and have noticed memory and attention problems, it may be a good reason to seek treatment for your anxiety. Treatment might include looking for a therapist who specializes in anxiety disorders or
consulting with your doctor to try medication to manage symptoms. (Meek, 2019).
Coli, T., Cornoldi, C., Mirandola, C., Toffalini, E. (2015). High trait anxiety increases inferential false
memories for negative (but not positive) emotional events,Personality and Individual Differences,
Volume 75, Pages 201-204, ISSN 0191-8869,
Crippa, J, Brust-Renck, P.,Neufeld, C., Palma, P. Rossetto, C., (2017). False memories in social anxiety
disorder. Archives of Clinical Psychiatry (São Paulo), 44(5), 113–116. https://doi.org/10.1590/0101-
Meek, W. (2019). Generalized anxiety disorder can negatively impact your memory. Verywell Mind.
Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://www.verywellmind.com/anxiety-and-memory-1393133
Diet and Depression
What we eat is important for every aspect of our health, but it is especially important for our mental health. When someone is dealing with depression, it is not uncommon to see a change in their appetite.
Depression can cause us to eat more frequently and unhealthily, and can also lead to a loss of appetite, skipping meals, and a sweet tooth.
According to Lang, et al., an unhealthy western dietary pattern was associated with an increased prevalence of depression (2015). Additionally, an increased risk of depression has been shown to be associated with the consumption of unhealthy foods, such as refined food, fried food, a high fat intake, etc. On the other end of this, a diet consisting of a high intake of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, antioxidants, and a low intake of animal foods is associated with a decreased risk of depression (Tello, M., 2020).
Keeping this in mind, it’s helpful to find strategies that can help avoid food traps, such as:
Overall, our diet plays an important role in how we feel. While there are many factors at play when dealing with depression, eating foods such as fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains can put you at a lower risk of developing depressive symptoms. When it comes to what we eat, quality matters over quantity. By better understanding the role our diet plays in our mood, we’re able to make better choices.
Lang, U., et al.(2015). Nutritional Aspects of Depression. Cell Physiol Biochem; 37:1029-1043. doi:
Martin, L. (2011). Depression Food Traps: Eating too Much, Eating too Little, and Unhealthy Choices.
WebMD. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from
Tello, M. (2020). Diet and depression. Harvard Health. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from
Counseling student at Sul Ross State University. Enjoys working with teens, preteens, young adults and more.
Elizabeth Oldham is an LPC-S and co-founder of Transform & Renew, PLLC. She specializes in co-dependency, anxiety and OCD, depression and mood disorders.