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What is Amnesia? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment in 2021

18 hours ago 236 Reads 7 min read
What is Amnesia? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment in 2021

Amnesia is a type of disorder accompanied by memory loss. Persons with amnesia often face a lot of difficulty in memorizing new things and retaining the old memory. They even can't recall the facts and ideas they were once proficient at. They may sometimes forget their own identity and for their dear ones. 

Although with age, the memory power of the person keeps decreasing. A drastic reduction in memory power and inability to retain the newly got information may be the symptom of amnesia.

Symptoms we can see in Amnestic patients:

The foremost symptom we may see in the amnestic patient is the significant loss of memory or reduction in the memory power and inability to retain new memories. The person might experience a lot of difficulty in retaining the information about the familiar event, places, or the people they were once familiar with. 

The person might experience a lot of difficulty in remembering the breakfast they've taken the same day. The person can although retain their motor skills but they can't retain the fluency in talking and speed in their talking. There can be many types of amnesia that include retrograde amnesia, anterograde amnesia, and transient global amnesia.

Retrograde Amnesia:

Persons with retrograde amnesia tend to lose their recently acquired memories. In this disorder, the person tends to lose the already acquired memories which are acquired in recent times. The older memories are affected gradually. Some diseases are also accountable for retrograde amnesia such as dementia. 

Anterograde Amnesia:

Anterograde Amnesia is usually diagnosed when the person is unable to make new memories. This disorder can affect the person temporarily. For example, a drunk person can experience a blackout during the consumption of alcohol. It can be permanent depending upon the conditions. This blackout can also be experienced by the person when an area of the brain i.e. known as the hippocampus gets damaged which is mainly responsible to form memories.

Transient Global Amnesia:

It causes poor cognition conditions in the person. In the case of Transient Global Amnesia, the person experiences confusion or agitation that comes and goes on repetition for several hours. The patient might experience memory loss several hours before the attack and it is possible that you won't remember the event. This disorder is accompanied by seizures like attacks due to the blockage in blood vessels that supplies the blood to the brain. This disorder has a tendency of occurrence in middle-aged and old age adults. 

Infantile Amnesia:

This is basically childhood amnesia which means that usually, we do not remember the first three or five years of our childhood and which is quite common.

a small doll in window -black and white photo

Causes of Amnesia:

Dementia:

Memory power of the power to remember anything is dependent on the age of the person. The more is the age of the person, the lesser is the memory power. Some sort of brain injuries or brain distortions badly affect the capability to retain the old memories in the brain. These brain distortions are common in Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. So people with Alzheimer's disease and dementia are always on the radar of retrograde amnesia. 

Damaged Hippocampus:

Hippocampus is that part of the brain which is responsible for retaining and making memories inside the brain. Its tasks include making new memories, retaining the old information as well as memories. And retrieving this stored information when required. The hippocampus cells consume more energy levels of the brain and are more fragile i.e. damage-prone. They are more prone to anoxia and are damaged by toxins. 

In the condition of its damage, the person might face difficulty in making and storing new memories. If the hippocampus cells are damaged in both the lobes of the brain, the person might be at the risk to develop Anterograde amnesia.

Head or brain injuries:

The person if faced with some type of head trauma incidents such as injuries, strokes, infections tends to have more damage to the brain and hence can develop amnesia. This damage can be temporary as well as permanent, hence deciding the consistency of the brain disorder. The brain damage can leave the person with disrupted memory either for full life or it can be for hours, days or weeks. 

Alcohol Use:

Consuming alcohol above the required or recommended quantity can cause blackouts which also cause short-term memory loss. This is simply a short-term Anterograde amnesia and the person feels better after some time. But consuming alcohol for a long run can cause Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome which means that the person faces difficulty in forming new memories and he is not aware of this disorder and feels quite normal.

Some Traumatic or Stressful Events:

Stress is a part of life same as the happiness. Sometimes these traumas or stress can leave the person in much more pain than expected. This can also cause Dissociative Amnesia. In this disorder, the mind rejects the thoughts, feelings, or the piece of information the person loved once. It can also lead to specified amnesia such as fondness of unexpected traveling and wandering i.e. Dissociative Fugue. The person only remembers that he has to wander anywhere without staying at one place, forgetting details about the rest of the things.

Electroconvulsive Therapy:

While the patient receives Electroconvulsive therapy for depression and other mental health issues, he may have retrograde amnesia for some days or weeks. And, this usually resolves within two weeks of occurrence. 

Diagnosis of Amnesia 

Amnesia is a brain disorder and can be diagnosed by a neurologist. The patient is firstly analyzed with memory loss by a set of questionnaires. Then comes the symptoms which might include how the patient is feeling nowadays and then they try to recognize the exact problem behind it. 

Any family member or a caretaker may be asked to accompany the patient while diagnosing sessions because the patient may not remember the answers they have given to the questions. 

The doctor then checks the cognitive abilities of the patient or they can conduct the other diagnosing and imaging tests such as MRI and CT Scan in case of brain damage. A physical examination can also be done to check if this is caused due to any RBC or nutritional deficiencies or to check the reasons behind the occurrence of seizures. 

Treatment of Amnesia 

Every treatment begins with the underlying causes and so is the treatment of Amnesia. If Amnesia is chemically induced, such as- due to consuming much alcohol or drugs then the body is detoxified to resolve the issue. As soon as the causing substance gets out of the body, the body and the memory power return to normal. 

If the amnesia is from mild head trauma, it tends to resolve within a few days without any need to take special treatment for this. In case of severe traumatic incidents and injuries, it does not vanish away completely with time, although we can see a significant improvement in a Duration of six to nine months after the occurrence. 

If amnesia occurred from dementia, then it can't be cured. It can only be improved with time by medication and recommended therapies. 

In case of persistent memory loss, occupational therapy may be recommended by the doctor. This will help the patient acquire new skills and learn new things to support their daily life. 

Recommended: Book Your appointment with Online Psychologists in India.

Prevention of Amnesia 

Practicing healthy habits can surely make it good in improving the Amnestic conditions and can reduce blackouts, head injuries, dementia, head strokes, or the other possible reasons for memory loss. 

Here are the healthy habits we can opt-in routine to prevent amnesia: 

  1. Avoid consuming alcohol and drugs 
  2. While playing outdoor games or sport where you're at greater risk of head strokes, practice using protective headgears. 
  3. A healthy and fit brain is the key to all mental health issues. Stay mentally healthy and fit with new explorations, activities, new studies, and information.
  4. Stay physically active as well to avoid any health issues.
  5. Have a balanced diet to get all things right. Add nuts, dry fruits, fresh vegetables, and fruits to your daily diet to stay fine. 
  6. Have an adequate amount of water for the whole day.
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