16 May The Top 5 Reasons for Memory Loss
What are the Top Five Reasons for Memory Loss
Memory loss – whether short or long term – can be very distressing. It’s common to be very worried if you start to forget everyday things, or struggle to remember the names of loved ones and important dates.
There are a lot of reasons that a person might suffer from memory loss and it’s common to jump to worrying conclusions – but the memory loss may not be permanent, and may be easy to resolve.
Here we’re going to look at the five most common reasons for memory loss.
1: Medication is One of the Reasons for Memory loss
There are a number of medications that can affect your memory, causing short term memory loss or confusion. Some pain medication, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, sedatives, drugs for treating high cholesterol or drugs for treating incontinence – particularly any of these taken alongside other medications – can all cause memory loss to some degree.
Have you begun taking a new prescription drug, or changed the dose you take of another recently? If so and you are experiencing some memory loss speak to your physician about your concerns. Ceasing taking the medication causing the problem usually results in your memory function fully returning.
2: Depression and anxiety
When suffering with anxiety or depression there are two factors that can be linked to memory loss. Firstly the brain is so engaged with the anxieties or worrying about past events, or so disconnected from the here and now due to depression, that it cannot store new memories, being so heavily engaged elsewhere.
The low level of serotonin – a neurotransmitter connected to the arousal system, also known as the happy hormone – means that concentration and focus are impaired, thus the ability to form new short-term memories is impaired.
If you are suffering with depression or anxiety and find that you are confused or forgetful, or can’t recall what you were doing, what you ate, or what plans you have made recently speak with your physician about medication that can help.
3: Stress and sleep deprivation
High levels of stress can alter the brain chemistry, the fight or flight instinct sends excess cortisol into your brain and adrenaline, and your system goes into overload. This causes a loss of cognitive ability, and retaining information can become difficult.
If this continues over a prolonged period of time it can be quite damaging to the short-term memory.
Sleep deprivation triggers the same hormonal response, your body running on emergency hormones that prevent the ordinary forming of neurons, meaning a loss of cognitive ability and short term memory loss and confusion.
If you are suffering with extreme stress over a prolonged period or are struggling to sleep it’s a good idea to speak to your physician and seek support.
4: Head injury
Head injuries can cause brain changes, with areas of brain being bruised, damaged or cells dying after trauma. This can damage the areas of the brain that process memories and either lead to amnesia – forgetting long term memories – or an inability to form new, short term memories.
Both can improve over time in some cases, depending on the seriousness of the injury, but this differs from person to person and from case to case.
5: Dementia or Alzheimer’s
If there has been no injury, no change in medication, you aren’t under extreme stress or suffering with anxiety or depression, you aren’t dehydrated or deficient in any vitamins, but you’re showing signs of memory loss and becoming forgetful it might be that you’re showing early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, though there are others, and the most serious. It affects memory and cognitive ability in a range of ways, and is usually a gradual decline in awareness and ability to care for oneself.
If you are concerned about memory loss it is often found to be related to one of the issues mentioned in this article, and in many cases a change of medication or lifestyle can improve memory again. Speak to your physician if you are concerned about your memory loss.