Affiliation: Panic and Respiration Laboratory, Institute of Psychiatry (IPUB) of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil.
Depression, the most prevalent psychiatric disorder, has a lifelong risk of 20% and is related to high rates of death among the patients. Thus, this study aims to conduct a systematic review of changes in executive functions of adult patients diagnosed with depression. We found 1381 articles; however, only 28 were selected and recovered. The inclusion criteria was the assessment of executive functions with at least one neuropsychological test, and articles that evaluated primarily adult individuals with depression, without comparison to other psychiatric disorders. Although most of the studies (25 out of 28 analyzed) have shown deficits in some executive subcomponents, these findings are not conclusive because they used different parameters of assessment. Moreover, many variables were not controlled, such as the different subtypes of the disorder, the high level of severity, comorbidity and the use of drugs. Most studies showed different deficits in executive functions in depressed patients, but further longitudinal studies are needed in order to confirm these findings.