Cognitive Dysfunction in the Workplace: Focus on Depression

  • Raymond W. LamEmail author
  • Carol Persad
Part of the Integrating Psychiatry and Primary Care book series (IPPC)


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common and burdensome mental health condition that is associated with significant occupational disability. Cognitive dysfunction, especially in neurocognitive domains of attention, memory, and executive functioning, is a well-recognized core feature of MDD that contributes to impairment in work functioning. Although there are many evidence-based treatments for MDD, neurocognitive deficits can persist even when other depressive symptoms are in remission after treatment. Despite the importance of cognition in mediating functional and occupational recovery, there has been little study of treatments that specifically address depression-associated cognitive dysfunction. In this chapter, we review the importance of cognitive dysfunction as it relates to workplace impairment in MDD, summarize the specific cognitive effects of evidence-based psychological and pharmacological treatments, and provide some principles to guide optimal treatment for working patients with MDD.


Depression Psychosocial functioning Occupation Work Cognition Neuropsychology Psychotherapy Pharmacotherapy Antidepressants Cognitive remediation Presenteeism Productivity Functional recovery 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain HealthVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MichiganAnn ArbourUSA

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