What is Amnesia?
Amnesia is a memory deficit or loss due to a brain disease. Although a mild loss of memory is common with increasing age, an evident degree of memory loss may indicate an underlying condition.
There are 2 types of Amnesia - Retrograde and Anterograde Amnesia.
- Retrograde amnesia is when one loses the memories previously made. It may be the memories of a few years or months before a particular date corresponding to the date of an accident or operation. Diseases like Dementia lead to gradual retrograde amnesia.
- Anterograde amnesia is when one is unable to form new memories, i.e., the information recently acquired by the brain is not transferred from short term to long term store. This results due to damage to the hippocampus.
Amnesia can result from a number of conditions:
- Head trauma,
- Traumatic events or stress
- Physical deficiencies like atrophy of a part of brain
- Alcohol use
- Electroconvulsive therapy
- Brain inflammation (encephalitis)
- Lack of adequate oxygen in the brain, for example, from a heart attack, respiratory distress or carbon monoxide poisoning
- Degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia
- Certain medications, such as benzodiazepines or other medications that act as sedatives
Head injuries that cause a concussion, whether from a car accident or sports, can lead to confusion and problems remembering new information. Mild head injuries typically do not cause lasting amnesia, but more-severe head injuries may cause permanent amnesia.
Another rare type of amnesia, called dissociative (psychogenic) amnesia, stems from emotional shock or trauma, such as being the victim of a violent crime. In this disorder, a person may lose personal memories and autobiographical information, but usually only briefly.
Amnesia varies in severity and scope, but even mild amnesia affects daily activities and quality of life. The syndrome can cause problems at work, at school and in social settings. It may not be possible to recover lost memories. Some people with severe memory problems need to live in supervision.
Diagnosis is done clinically with the use of cognitive tests to check the memory. Tests like CT or MRI are done to look for any brain damage.
Treatment mainly focuses on the underlying cause and persistent cases require occupational therapy. Preventive measures include avoidance of heavy alcohol or drug intake, avoidance of head injury by the use of helmets, regular physical and mental activity, healthy diet and proper hydration.
Warning: Above information provided is an overview of the disease, we strongly recommend a doctorעs consultation to prevent further advancement of disease and/or development of complications.
Disclaimer: The information provided herein on request, is not to be taken as a replacement for medical advice or diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DO NOT SELF MEDICATE. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN FOR PROPER DIAGNOSIS AND PRESCRIPTION.
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