Amnesia Essay

1049 words - 4 pages


Amnesia, the partial or complete loss of memory, most commonly is temporary and for only a short span of experience. There are both organic and psychological causes for amnesia. Some organic causes include inflammation of the brain, head injury, or stroke. This type of memory loss occurs suddenly and can last a long time. The person may be able to recall events in the distant past but not yesterday or today. If the amnesia is caused by alcohol abuse, it is a progressive disorder, and there are usually neurological problems like uncoordinated movements and loss of feeling in the fingers and toes. Once these problems occur, it may be too late to stop drinking. In contrast, psychologically based amnesia is almost always temporary. This type of memory loss may be triggered by a traumatic event with which the mind can not deal. Usually, the memory slowly or suddenly comes back a few days later, though not all of the trauma may be recalled. Only rarely does a person lose the memory of larger portions of their life
The brain stores different types of information in different places. Short-term memory involves recalling details that have been catalogued seconds or minutes before. Examples include reciting a phone number, recognizing a new face, or repeating a list of three objects seen 2 or 3 minutes earlier. For this to happen, distinct areas deep in the brain need to function properly. For short-term memory to convert to long-term memory, other permanent changes to brain cells have to take place. This is similar to creating a permanent file or recording. Other parts of the brain perform this filing function.
Occasional memory lapses or forgetfulness are common. These may be associated with depression, stress, lack of sleep, and normal aging. Memory loss only becomes a problem when it is severe and interferes with daily living.
Amnesia is a severe form of memory loss. It may be a partial or complete lack of recall. Depending on the cause of amnesia, the memory loss may arise suddenly or slowly. It also can be temporary or permanent.
Many people with progressive memory loss may not be aware of their worsening forgetfulness. Family members or friends may be more able to judge whether memory lapses are getting worse. Depending on whether the memory loss is of short- or long-term memory, the individual or family may notice certain events, such as:

· Inability to recognize family members
· forgetting one's phone number or home address
· forgetting how to return home from a familiar location
· forgetting to eat, bathe, or maintain one's hygiene
· forgetting friends' or family members' names

Common medical causes of memory loss include:
· normal aging
· Alzheimer’s Disease
· depression
· head trauma
· hysteria
· seizures
· chronic alcohol abuse drugs such as anesthetics,
· barbiturates, and hallucinogens
· electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
· temporal lobe surgery for conditions such as a brain tumor lack of oxygen...

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