What is Amnesia
Amnesia occurs happens to a person when a person is unable to remember the information contained in his memory.
Being a bit forgetful is entirely different from having amnesia. Amnesia refers to forgetting information in a big way, which should not have been forgotten.
This can include important parts of life, memorable events, key people in life and important things.
Forgetting one’s identity is shown to be a common problem in films and television, but it is not usually in real life. Instead, people with amnesia often remember themselves but may have trouble learning new information and creating new memories.
Amnesia can be caused due to damage to areas of the brain that are important for memory. Amnesia can be permanent.
There is no particular treatment for amnesia, but people who develop amnesia and their families can be helped to overcome it by enhancing memory and psychological techniques.?
What Are The Types Of Amnesia?
There can be many types of amnesia. These types are as follows –
In retrograde types of amnesia, you lose existing, earlier memories. This type of amnesia affects earlier recent memories. Old memories, such as childhood memories, are usually affected by slow movements. Retrograde types of amnesia cause diseases such as dementia.
When you have an anterograde kind of amnesia, you are unable to make new memories. This effect may be temporary. For example, drinking/consuming too much alcohol can cause you to experience this during a blackout. It can also be permanent.
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Temporary Global Type
If you suffer from this type of amnesia, you will experience confusion or distraction that keep on coming during a few hours. You may experience loss of memory in the hours before this experience, and you will probably have no memory of this experience.
Amnesia in Infants
Most people do not remember the first three to five years of their lives. This common phenomenon is called amnesia in infants.?
What Are The Symptoms Of Losing Memory?
The following are the common symptoms of memory loss:
- Anterograde deteriorates the ability to learn new information in amnesia.
- Retrograde amnesia decreases the ability to remember past events and previously familiar information.
- Unimaginableness can create false memories or disturb real memories.
- Unrelated activities and tremors indicate neurological problems.
- Confusion or disorientation.
- Short-term amnesia, incomplete or complete memory loss.
- The person may be unable to recognize the faces or locations.
Amnesia is different from the dementia. Dementia also leads to memory loss, but it also has other significant cognitive problems, which can affect a patient’s ability to conduct daily activities.
What Causes Amnesia?
Normal memory function involves in many parts of the brain and any disease or injury affecting the brain can cause memory problems.
Amnesia can be caused by brain injury or damage is called neurological amnesia. The reasons for this can be:
Inflammation caused by being infected with a virus such as herpes simplex virus, inflammation of the brain occurring as a response to a cancer present elsewhere in the body, or an autoimmune response in the absence of cancer.
- Inadequate oxygen in the brain. For example, from a heart attack, difficulty breathing, or carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Vitamin B-1 deficiency caused by long-term alcohol use.
- Tumors in the area of the brain that control memory.
- Brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
- To have a seizure.
- Some medicines, such as benzodiazepines.
- Head injury. Such as car accident or sports injuries, but head injuries do not usually cause severe amnesia.
- Another rare type of amnesia, called psychological amnesia, arises from emotional shock or mental trauma, such as the experience of violent activity. In this disorder, a person may lose their memories and self-contained information.
- What are the risk factors of amnesia?
- Your risk of amnesia may increase if you have experienced the following –
- Brain surgery, head injury or trauma.
- Excessive alcohol consumption.
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What are the measures to prevent amnesia?
Brain injury can be the leading cause of amnesia, so it is important to protect to reduce the risk of brain injury. For example:
- Do not use excessive alcohol.
- Wear a helmet when driving a two-wheeler and a seat belt while driving.
- Treat any infection soon so that it does not spread to the brain.
If you are experiencing symptoms of stroke, a severe headache, one-way numbness or paralysis, seek medical attention immediately.
How is amnesia tested/diagnosed?
To diagnose amnesia, doctors will conduct an evaluation to learn about other possible causes, such as Alzheimer’s disease, other types of dementia, depression, or brain tumour.
At the beginning of the evaluation, the doctor asks the patient about it because a person with amnesia is not able to adequately provide his information. A family member, friend or any other partner also participates in this assessment.
The doctor will ask you various types of questions to understand the loss of memory.
The physical examination can include a neurological test to check your involuntary movements, sensory function, balance, and other physical activities.
In this test, the practitioner will test the person’s thinking, judgment and recent and long-term memory. He will check the general knowledge of the person – such as the name of the current president, personal information and past events. The doctor may ask the person to repeat a list of words.?
Imaging tests- in which MRI and CT scans are used to check for brain damage or abnormalities.
Blood tests to check for infections, nutritional deficiencies or other problems.
An electroencephalogram to check for the presence of the activity of seizures.
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How is Amnesia Treated?
For the treatment amnesia, your doctor will focus on the root cause of your condition.
- Chemically induced amnesia (e.g. from alcohol) can be cured through detoxification. As soon as the drug goes out of your body, your memory problems will decrease.
- Amnesia from a head injury usually resolves without treatment over time. Amnesia caused by a severe head injury is not cured. However, improvements occur generally within six to nine months.
- Dementia-related amnesia is often not treated. However, your doctor may prescribe you medications to support learning ability and memory.
- If you have permanent memory problems, your doctor may recommend you for occupational therapy. This type of treatment can help you learn new information for daily life. Your physician can also teach you how to use assistive technologies to organize information so that it is easier to retrieve.
What are the risks and complications of amnesia?
- Amnesia varies in severity and prevalence, but mild amnesia affects daily activities and quality of life.
- Amnesia can cause problems at work, at school, and in social activities.
- It may not be possible to recover from lost memories.
- Some of the people with severe memory problems need to be kept in care.
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