Memory loss is a common neurological condition. The brain cannot remember facts like names, addresses, faces, people, or motor skills like driving, cooking, playing sports, etc. Several reasons can directly or indirectly cause memory loss. In this article, we will learn about memory loss in depth.
What is memory and memory loss?
Psychology defines memory as the ability of the brain to store, encode, and retrieve information. There are some categories of memory. They are
What does create a memory
These three steps make memory:
- Encoding: This is where the brain gets news from the outside world.
- Storing: Here, the brain keeps the information for future use.
- Retrieving: In this part, the brain extracts information it had encoded and stored in the past.
Information can be in the form of facts like names, addresses, faces, general knowledge, etc. It could also be in the form of motor skills like walking, running, playing sports, driving, cooking, etc.
Memory loss is when the brain cannot encode, store and retrieve information. It is commonly called amnesia.
Types of amnesia
There are different types of amnesia like
- Retrograde amnesia,
- Anterograde amnesia,
- Dissociative amnesia,
- Post-traumatic amnesia,
- Drug-induced amnesia, etc.
There are many direct and indirect causes of amnesia, which we will read ahead.
How do you know if you have memory loss?
Memory loss or amnesia is the brain’s inability to encode, store and recall information and facts. This problem has several underlying causes and symptoms. The most common symptoms are:
- Difficulty in remembering simple facts like the name of a family member, what you had for breakfast, the name of your country’s capital, etc
- Inability to learn or encode new information
- A prolonged state of confusion.
- Difficulty in recognising faces, voices, and locations.
- Confabulation: A condition where the brain generates new and false memories.
In most cases of this issue, you will be able to recall or remember basic motor skills like walking, running or climbing stairs and other skills like driving, cooking, etc. There are very few cases of amnesia where patients lose the ability to recall motor skills.
What causes memory loss or amnesia?
It has several reasons or causes like :
It is a condition where the supply of oxygen to the brain is cut or decreased. It could result in amnesia.
It is a form of brain deterioration that affects the part of the brain that stores memories.
3. Brain trauma
Brain trauma may cause injury to the memory-storing part of the brain and may lead to memory loss or amnesia.
4. Neurological conditions
Several conditions like Alzheimer’s, stroke, seizures, or a brain tumour may cause amnesia.
5. Brain infections
Brain infections like encephalitis, Lyme disease, and even H.I.V. may lead to amnesia.
Several other factors may cause or aggravate amnesia. These include:
- Thiamine deficiency caused by alcoholism or dietary deficiencies from eating disorders
- Cardiac arrest
- Emotional trauma
How do you diagnose memory loss or amnesia?
You must visit your doctor and explore further diagnosis and treatment if:
- You are experiencing any of the symptoms of this issue
- You have had trauma, disease or infection that has caused the onset of these problems.
Your doctor will run a series of tests to confirm whether you have this issue. The doctor may also enquire about your past medical conditions like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, history of strokes and seizures, past infections, etc. The following tests will help the doctor arrive at a diagnosis of it:
- Brain imaging scans like M.R.I. and C.T. scans to look for damage in the memory storing part of the brain.
- Blood tests to rule out infections.
- A neurological test.
- Cognitive tests to look for short-term and long-term memory loss.
- An electroencephalogram to record any seizure activity
After completing the above tests, the doctor will evaluate the results and confirm whether you have amnesia or not.
How is memory loss or amnesia treated?
Doctors treat amnesia by addressing the underlying cause. There are several methods of treating these issues depending on the grounds, like:
- Memory loss due to mild brain injury may get cured on its own within a few hours. However, reversing memory loss from severe brain concussions may take days or weeks.
- Detoxification can cure chemically induced amnesia due to alcohol or drugs.
- Memory loss because of dementia or Alzheimer’s is usually incurable. However, the doctor may prescribe medications or other modalities to keep it from progressing.
- Occupational therapy may help regenerate the lost memories.
- Psychological therapy may help cure memory loss due to emotional trauma.
- The doctor may prescribe medications to treat other underlying causes of memory loss like cardiac ailments, brain infections, thiamine deficiency, etc.
Memory is a collection of facts like names, addresses, faces, general knowledge, etc. The brain creates memory by encoding, storing, and retrieving points. It is when the brain cannot recall memories. There are three types of these problems: sensory memory loss, short-term memory loss, and long-term memory loss.
Several reasons like a brain injury cause memory loss or amnesia; brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, strokes, and seizures; brain infections like encephalitis, H.I.V., and Lyme disease; and other factors like cardiac ailments, thiamine deficiency, etc. Doctors diagnose this condition by brain imaging scans, neurological tests, blood tests, cognitive tests, and E.C.G. tests. The course of treatment to cure it is by treating the condition’s underlying cause, therapy, and medications.
Suppose you or someone around you have symptoms of memory loss. It’s better to check it even if it’s a false alarm. Please check for more information on United We Care.
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