Autobiographical memory and its meaning in selected mental disorders
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Klinika Chorób Psychicznych i Zaburzeń Nerwicowych Katedry Chorób Psychicznych GUMed w Gdańsku
Akademia Pomorska w Słupsku, Instytut Nauk o Zdrowiu
Państwowy Szpital Dla Nerwowo i Psychicznie Chorych w Starogardzie Gdańskim
Anna Rybak-Korneluk   

Klinika Chorób Psychicznych i Zaburzeń Nerwicowych Katedry Chorób Psychicznych GUM w Gdańsku, Gdański Uniwersytet Medyczny, ul Malczewskiego 11/6, 81-817 Sopot, Polska
Submission date: 2014-09-04
Final revision date: 2015-02-10
Acceptance date: 2015-02-10
Publication date: 2016-10-31
Psychiatr Pol 2016;50(5):959–972
This paper presents the general characteristics of the phenomenon of autobiographical memory (AM), the current knowledge of the subject and describes hitherto identified distortions of AM in mental disorders.AM is the part of memory concerning the personal past of an individual. It includes episodic and semantic memories associated with an identity. It affects an activity and structuring of goals, it is set in human experience and emotions and it helps in creating plans. The evolutionary sig-nificance of AM is probably to facilitate short-term goal-oriented behaviors by comparing them with the previous ones. People with AM disorders often have difficulties in social functioning.The disorders of emotional life and affect, which are present in most psychiatric disorders, deform AM. It was confirmed, inter alia, in post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, autism, schizophrenia, and alcohol dependence syndrome. Overgeneral memories (the inability to recall memories that are fully filled with details) being typical of depression, and flashbacks (the involuntary recall of memories which are highly filled with visual-sensory content) being characteristic of PTSD are considered one of the most studied deficiency of AM. The study of AM potentially carries many cognitive and clinical implications. It may facilitate the prediction of the onset of a depressive episode in patients at risk; it can also help to develop psychotherapeutic techniques which are helpful in its treatment, which has in part already taken place. Few studies relate to neurofunctional changes in AM and they need a follow-up.