Memory loss, also known as amnesia, is the term used to describe forgetfulness. It can range from gradual memory loss where you seem to be forgetting more and more to complete amnesia where you don’t remember who you are, where you work, or what your past is. Some people have a combination of different types of amnesia, depending on the cause of their forgetfulness, such as from age or a trauma to the head. The normal aging process can lead to slight forgetfulness, but this is not known as severe memory loss. Memory loss can also be seen in people who suffer from depression. Memory loss can either be temporary or permanent.
Causes of Memory Loss
There is no single cause of memory loss because there are so many different things that can cause it, ranging from substances used to a trauma or medical conditions. The possible causes of memory loss are using illicit drugs or drinking alcohol, not getting enough oxygen to the brain, brain growths or infections, having brain surgery, cancer treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy, some medications, certain types of seizures, dementia, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dissociative disorder, electroconvulsive therapy, encephalitis, epilepsy, heart bypass surgery, neurodegenerative illness such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or Huntington’s disease, migraine headache, long-term alcohol abuse, a mild head injury or concussion, vitamin deficiencies, permanent damage or injury to the brain, transient global amnesia, or transient ischemic attack.
Treating Memory Loss at Home
Someone dealing with memory loss, whether it is temporary or permanent, needs a lot of support from people close to them. It can help to show someone with memory loss, pictures, music, videos, or familiar objects that might improve their memory. They may need reminders for such things like prescriptions if it is severe memory loss and they can’t remember daily when or what medications they take. They may also need help with other daily living tasks if their memory loss is very severe.
Diagnosing Memory Loss
Suspecting someone has memory loss required a doctor’s visit. They will first perform a physical examination followed by going through your medical history. The doctor will need to know if you have any other medical conditions or illnesses that might be causing the memory loss. Some of the common tests run for diagnosing memory loss and its cause are a blood test, cerebral angiography, lumbar puncture, EEG, CT scan, MRI, and a cognitive test.
Treating Memory Loss
The main courses of treatment for memory loss are cognitive therapy with a language and speech therapist, and some types of medications if it is being caused by an illness or medical condition.