Trauma-Induced Memory Loss
About the Causes, Types, & Symptoms of Amnesia
Memory loss (amnesia) is a neurological injury that causes people to be unable to recall past events or display an unusual degree of forgetfulness. The forgotten periods may be limited to recent events, events from the past, or a combination of the two. Memory loss can occur suddenly or have a gradual onset; it can be temporary or permanent.
Memory loss can be caused by:
- Brain trauma
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Chronic medical or psychological conditions
- Certain medications
- Drug or alcohol abuse
While a favorite trope of melodramatic writing, amnesia is a serious issue for the victim and his or her family—memories are a fundamental part of who we are, and losing them from an injury is both terrifying and frustrating.
There are several different types of amnesia, explained in more detail below.
Transient Global Amnesia: The temporary, total loss of short-term memory. The individual never loses consciousness and shows no signs of neurological impairment, but loses the ability to form new and lasting memories. It most resembles a state of agitation and confusion, with a loss of memory accompanying the heightened emotional state. Often, victims have no memory of the event once the amnesia fades. Some researchers believe transient global amnesia is the result of a temporary blockage in your brain’s blood vessels.
Anterograde (or Antegrade) Amnesia: In this type of amnesia, the loss of memory relates only to events that occur after a traumatic event. New information can't be recalled, but memories of events prior to the trauma remain intact. This is similar to the way drinking causes people to “blackout” their memory of being drunk—except this amnesia results from brain injury, often from damage to the hippocampus. Hippocampus injury frequently occurs due to the lack of oxygen or toxic exposure and is more likely to be permanent.
Retrograde Amnesia: An inability to remember events occurring prior to a traumatic experience. The memory of events after the trauma is intact and new memories are able to be formed. Usually, the newer the memory the more likely it is to be affected. Dementia causes a gradual development of retrograde amnesia.
Symptoms of memory loss can include confusion, decreased alertness, getting lost easily, repeating things over and over, beginning a task but forgetting your purpose in the middle, forgetting names and dates and having difficulties with familiar tasks. People may also forget common words or have trouble conversing.
If you or a loved one suffered from memory loss resulting from an accident or traumatic injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Arnold & Itkin today for a free consultation regarding your case, or call (888) 493-1629.