Common Causes of Memory Loss
April 30, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

Common Causes of Memory Loss

Everyone experiences forgetfulness at some point in their lives. Although, for some it is more serious than others. Serious illnesses that are characterized by progressive memory loss like Alzheimer's disease or dementia are different from normal memory problems that take place due to aging.

If you are experiencing mild symptoms of memory loss in your early adulthood, it is most probably a normal side effect of aging. However, if the symptoms are growing more than a normal degree, there can be several reasons behind that.

There are common things that contribute to a weakened memory. Take a look:

Sleep deprivation

Many people know it but it does not become a fact to them until they begin experiencing forgetfulness. Lack of sleep is one of the most common things that affects your brain. With little sleep or an irregular sleep cycle, a person typically faces mood swings and suffers from anxiety and even depression.

All of that contributes to poor memory and poor cognitive skills. It is because the brain loses its ability to properly focus and learn efficiently when it hasn’t had enough sleep.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency

Vitamin B-12 is an essential nutrient that keeps the blood and nerve cells healthy and functioning. With its deficiency, there can be many neurological problems. It can cause impairment in cognition which means that the person faces problems with thinking and reasoning.

This deficiency also causes loss of memory. Other than that, it can even result in depression, delusions, and paranoia.

Use of medications, drugs, and alcohol

Many medications come with the noticeable side effect of memory loss. This is not only a consequence of over the counter drugs—even some prescription medications result in weak memory. Most common among these are antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, muscle relaxants, antihistamines, and some pain medications.

These medications and other recreational drugs can make it hard for you to concentrate or learn something new. Other than that, heavy consumption of alcohol can lead to memory lapses. If continued, it can also result in permanent memory loss. Similarly, it can also result in dementia.

Mental disorders

Certain illnesses of the mind are a leading cause of memory loss. These include depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and dissociative identity disorder. The more common among these is depression. However, depression is only linked with short term memory loss. It can cause confusion, and can make it difficult for the person to make decisions as it interferes with the ability to think clearly.

Since depression also affects moods and induces stress and anxiety, these things also disrupt your normal life by making it difficult to focus on things.

Head trauma and concussions

Traumatic injury to the brain may leave some people with an inability to store memories for some time. It also involves confusion, specifically regarding the accident. This state is medically termed as post-traumatic amnesia.

Lack of oxygen to the brain

Low levels of oxygen especially for a prolonged period can cause neural problems. These problems manifest as memory loss. These problems can occur as a result of drowning, suffocating, stroke, or a cardiac arrest.

Anesthesia from recent surgery

Studies have shown that being under surgical anesthesia can have lasting impacts on your cognition and memory. Though middle aged people are more at risk of being affected by it, it can also affect young adults the same.

Other causes

Memory loss has various other causes which include chemotherapy, radiation, seizures, brain surgery, thyroid dysfunction, TIA (transient ischemic attack), migraine, and emotional trauma. If you experience fogginess or unusual forgetfulness, book your online appointment with Shifa4U.

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Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.