Can Speed of Processing Training Ameliorate Depressive Symptomatology in Adults with HIV?

Review Article

Ann Depress Anxiety. 2014;1(3): 1013.

Can Speed of Processing Training Ameliorate Depressive Symptomatology in Adults with HIV?

David E Vance*, Shameka C Humphrey, William C Nicholson and Rita Jablonski-Jaudon

School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birminghom, USA

*Corresponding author: David E Vance, School of Nursing, Room 2M026, 1701 University Boulevard, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 352941210, USA

Received: August 13, 2014; Accepted: Sep 02, 2014; Published: Sep 04, 2014


Despite advances in combination Antiretroviral Therapy (cART), adults with HIV continue to experience cognitive impairments. In addition to these cognitive impairments, research suggests as many as 40% and 20% of adults with HIV are diagnosed with depression and anxiety, respectively. The impact of these cognitive and emotional deficits increases caregiver burden, impairs occupational and driving performance, contributes to poor emotional processing, increases cognitive complaints, and reduces quality of life. Fortunately, cognitive remediation therapy improves targeted cognitive abilities along with general cognitive processes. Speed of processing training, a type of cognitive remediation therapy, has been shown to improve cognitive performance on measures of visual attention, speed of processing, and timed-task performances. Furthermore, studies suggest that speed of processing training could also enhance neuromodulatory systems which have direct implications for improving mood functions (depression and anxiety). The benefits of the improvement in these cognitive and emotional systems are a decrease or slowing in cognitive decline along with the potential to protect against clinically significant depressive symptoms. Studies support the need for deeper investigation into the short-term and long-term benefits of speed of processing training as a behavioral adjunct for the pharmacologically-burdened HIV population.

Can Speed of Processing Training Ameliorate

Depressive symptomatology in adults with HIV?

Receiving a diagnosis of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which remains a highly stigmatized disease, can create enormous emotional distress. For example, in a cross-sectional sample of 1,478 adults from a university HIV/AIDS clinic, Vance and colleagues observed that across each decade of life, approximately 40% and 20% of patients were diagnosed with depression and anxiety, respectively [1]. Although psychotropic medications and cognitive-behavioral therapies can be effective in treating such mood disturbances, another strategy that may bolster these existing therapies may be cognitive remediation therapy, more specifically – speed of processing training. Thus, the purpose of this brief article is to explain how speed of processing, which has been used in normal community-dwelling older adults, may be used in adults aging with HIV. In fact, such training may not only improve cognitive functioning in adults aging with HIV, it may also have secondary benefits to mood, internal locus of control, and everyday functioning (Figure 1).

Citation: Vance DE, Humphrey SC, Nicholson WC and Jablonski-Jaudon R. Can Speed of Processing Training Ameliorate Depressive Symptomatology in Adults with HIV?. Ann Depress Anxiety. 2014;1(3): 1013. ISSN:2381-8883