Did you forget where you put your keys? Why you went to the refridgerator? Take a deep breath and relax. It’s probably not as serious as you think. But in case you are worried, I wrote this article to give you more information and resources.
It seems like a movie plot: After a person suffers head trauma, they can’t remember who they are or where they came from. While profound, sudden amnesia is rare, memory issues affects most people to some extent. In this guide, readers can learn the signs, symptoms, and causes of memory loss, and they can get some treatment information as well.
Why Patients Lose Their Memory
Memory losses can be sudden or they can come over weeks, months or even years. Below are some of the most common reasons patients suffer from diminished memory.
- Medications: Numerous OTC and prescription medicines can lead to lost memory. Possible candidates include antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medicines, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, pain medicines, and sleeping pills.
- Drug, alcohol, or tobacco use: Excessive use of these substances has been recognized as a reason for lost memory. Smoking has been shown to harm memory by cutting the oxygen supply to the brain.
- Sleep deprivation: Both quality and quantity of sleep are vital to a patient’s memory. Not getting enough sleep or waking often during the night can cause fatigue, which interferes with a person’s ability to retrieve and consolidate information.
- Stress and depression: When a person is depressed, they may find it hard to focus and pay attention, which may affect their memory. Anxiety and stress can also interfere with a person’s ability to concentrate. When someone is tense and their mind is distracted or overstimulated, their ability to recall may suffer. Stress caused by emotional traumas can also cause a person to lose his or her memory.
- Nutritional deficiencies: Good nutrition, including quality fats and proteins, is essential for good brain function. Specifically, deficiencies in vitamins B12 and B1 can affect a person’s memory.
- Head injuries: A hard hit to a person’s head can injure their brain and cause long- and short-term loss of memory. However, in some cases, a patient’s memory may improve with time.
- Stroke: When a stroke happens, the blood supply to the patient’s brain ceases due to a leaking or blocked blood vessel. They often cause short-term memory issues in many patients.
- Dementia: This term encompasses progressive memory problems that are severe enough to affect a person’s ability to function from day to day. Although dementia itself has many causes, including disease and drug abuse, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause. Here, the patient progressively loses brain cells and suffers from other brain irregularities.
- Other reasons: Memory issues may also be caused by an over- or underactive thyroid, tuberculosis, syphilis, or HIV infection.
If a patient is suffering any of these signs, they should schedule an appointment for a full medical evaluation.
Determining Why a Patient Loses Their Memory
If a person finds that they’re becoming more forgetful, or if their memory issues are starting to interfere with daily activities, they should schedule a doctor’s appointment to determine the cause and the right treatments for continued brain health. During the appointment, the doctor will take the patient’s medical history, do a physical exam and neurological exam, and ask some questions to assess the person’s mental acuity. Depending on the results of these tests, the doctor may order further evaluations such as urine and blood analysis, nerve testing, and imaging tests such as CAT scans and MRIs.
Treating Memory Issues
Treatments for memory problems depends on why they’ve occurred. In many instances, memory losses can be reduced or reversed with the right medical interventions. Certain nutritional supplements can reverse losses caused by dietary deficiencies. Treatments for depression may be helpful in affected individuals, and those who’ve suffered a stroke may be able to receive therapy to regain the ability to perform some tasks. In other cases, a patient’s memory may gradually improve on its own. Medical methods can also address specific conditions related to memory problems. For example, some drugs can treat issues that come with Alzheimer’s disease, and blood pressure drugs can reduce the risk of dementia-related brain damage that comes with hypertension (high blood pressure).
When a person loses his or her memory, even for a short time, the effects can be devastating. However, by learning the causes of and treatments for the condition, patients and their families can go into the recovery process with all the information they’ll need to make the right choices.
For memory loss treatment check out The Brain Performance Center in Dallas and Irving Texas. They also treat anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism, and traumatic brain injury.