Memory loss affects most people in one way or another. More often than not, it is a momentary memory lapse; nothing to worry about – it happens to the best of us. However, when memory lapses begin to become a regular occurrence, it is wise to dig a little deeper and seek medical advice.
Causes and DevelopmentShort-term memory
provides a small storage space for daily tasks and lists, and is more likely to be affected with age. Memory is also affected by lack of sleep or by stress and anxiety
. Conversely, if the mind is dull from depression
or boredom, short-term memory becomes rusty from lack of use. Long-term memory
tends to remain stable with age. Childhood memories remain in the mind better than adult memories.
Memory can be affected by a number of factors and there are many possible causes of patches of memory being lost, some more sinister than others. A high fever, an attack of epilepsy
, severe alcohol intoxication or surgery can erase memory. A stroke
can cause sudden memory loss (accompanied by other neurological symptoms, such as dizziness, visual changes, buckling knees or slurred speech.) A passing loss of short-term memory
, or ischemic
attack, lasts only a few minutes and can precede a stroke.
Memory problems can also be the result of deeper-rooted issues such as brain disease, tumors
, or the onset of a disease such as Alzheimer's
that causes brain cell deterioration. Alzheimer's disease
and senile dementia
are sources of memory loss in older persons and are associated with the gradual erosion of the personality. Sufferers who have any doubts at all should always seek medical advice with regards to continued memory loss.
Many substances affect memory, including prescription drugs, such as sleeping pills and antidepressants
, and chronic alcohol abuse. Nutritional deficiencies should also be evaluated, especially in older people who do not always eat well. Problems with memory are often associated with physical fatigue
that causes inattention. Some women experience memory loss in conjunction with menopause
as a result of hormonal imbalances. Usually short-term memory
loss is a side-effect of too much stress and an overload of information. There are many illnesses related to fatigue and poor attention span, including anemia
, underactive thyroid
If a complete period of life has been forgotten, it is usually the result of blocking out psychological or emotional pain, as a coping mechanism. If a head injury is the cause of memory loss, have it evaluated immediately.
It may simply be lack of sleep; fatigue due to over-work, lack of exercise, or poor diet. These are all issue about which we can do something constructive to help us.
Signs and Symptoms
Forgetfulness is not a symptom of a serious problem, unless it becomes debilitating or accompanied by other symptoms of mental instability such as confusion or behavioral changes.
Treatment and Prevention
Many herbs create a positive effect on memory. Take them as herbal teas by brewing 1 tsp. of herbs in 1 cup of hot water and let steep for ten minutes.