We often hear someone saying that he's/she's suffering from memory loss. We have seen a lot of movies in which we see a person not remembering his/her past life after an accident or after a shocking event in their lives. Have you ever wondered what causes short term memory loss in young adults, or even long term loss of memory for that matter. Listed below are the causes, symptoms and treatment for memory loss, which is also known as amnesia. However, before we proceed to the causes, symptoms and treatment, let us see the types of amnesia that can occur in young adults.
Types of Memory Loss in Young Adults
Anterograde amnesia is one of the most common types of amnesia in young adults. In this the brain's ability to store and retain information or knowledge reduces and gradually it leads to memory loss. Young adults who suffer from this type have difficulty in remembering the recent or immediate past. Usually, we get to this type in cases of Alzheimer's and dementia.
Retrograde amnesia is a type that usually occurs after trauma to the brain like a head injury or an accident causing external harm to the brain. In this type of amnesia, the person will not remember most of his/her life before the occurring of amnesia. This is what we usually get to see in movies and soaps alike.
Transient Global Amnesia
Transient global amnesia is a form of memory loss in young adults that is seen very rarely. In this type the ability or rather capability of the brain to form new memories diminishes and the recent past events may blur out. This is a form of temporary loss of all memory which is not permanent and you can at times remember what you have forgotten in sometime.
List of Causes of Memory Loss in Young Adults
Psychogenic amnesia is a form of amnesia that is due to psychological reasons and impactful happenings in life. A life-threatening event or a stressful and troublesome life can lead to this form of memory loss in people. Usual and common reasons are criminal behavior, depression or schizophrenia. Most of the times, this kind of memory loss is short term but in some cases it can also be long term.
Encephalitis and Meningitis
Another cause of memory loss in young adults is brain infection. One of the common brain infections is encephalitis which is a condition where there is a little inflammation of the brain. One more common brain infection is meningitis which is the inflammation of the brain and spinal cord covering. The worst part about these brain infections is that they are capable of doing permanent damage. However, the duration of memory loss will depend on other factors too, such as the severity of the infection and the damage it has already done.
An external injury means when the brain suffers from some trauma, like in an accident. In this case, the brain gets injured internally or externally and many a times this leads to memory loss at a young age. Mostly, in this case, the memory loss is short term memory loss and doesn't stay for long. The patient usually does not remember how he/she met with an accident but slowly it all does come back. This can also termed or called as traumatic brain injury.
Many prescription drugs such as barbiturates, digoxin, isoniazid, tricyclic antidepressants, bromide, methyldopa, diuretics and aminophylline can lead to memory loss in young adults. Some recreational drugs that can lead to memory loss are cocaine, PSP and LSD. If the young adult is suffering from memory loss due to any of these drugs, the chances are very high that there may be improvement in the memory once he/she stops taking these drugs.
Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is actually the deficiency of Vitamin B1 and this is also another cause for memory loss in young adults. Two of the major reasons that lead to this deficiency are extreme malnourishment or addiction to alcohol, i.e alcoholism. If amnesia is not treated in its earlier stages it can also lead to dementia. People who suffer from this deficiency can suffer memory loss episodes for a lifetime and recovery can be difficult. This is one of the most dangerous causes of long term memory loss in young adults.
List of Symptoms of Memory Loss in Young Adults
The symptoms of memory loss in young adults are almost the same as other memory loss symptoms. The most basic symptom is the inability to 'remember' and all the other symptoms are somehow just offshoots of this one particular problem. The symptoms also depend a lot on the intensity and severity of the illness, so the short term memory loss symptoms may differ a little from the long term ones. Here are a few symptoms of memory loss in young adults that you can go through.
Problem with Directions
People who are suffering from amnesia always have a problem with directions. They forget how they reached a particular place or how they are supposed to leave and reach another. The basic problem is to 'store' the information and use it again. Memory loss can always make a person forget general directions like 'left' and 'right'.
Loss of Words
Young adults who are suffering from memory loss also forget the right usage of words and the appropriate word that is supposed to be used in a particular sentence. They might want to say something but just then they will not remember what word it is that they want to use. They might not remember the lyrics of a song they have just heard or a particular name of a place they just spoke about.
Forgetting Positions and Engagements
Memory loss in young adults may also result in forgetting the positions of certain things you kept somewhere, like the position of your keys or the place where you kept the remote control. Another symptom is forgetting engagements such as meetings decided a day or two back or the time of the meetings or the person who you are supposed to meet even.
Another symptom of memory loss in young adults is mood swings and fluctuating behavioral patterns. A young adult who is suffering from memory loss may seem angry one minute and may suddenly calm down the next minute. There may be episodes of depression or sudden euphoria as well. Sometimes, a person may feel anxiety due to unknown reasons and then suddenly feel alright in sometime again, due to unknown reasons.
Inability to Perform
Memory loss in young adults also leads to the inability to perform. This means that a person might find it difficult to perform a certain task that he/she has been performing regularly but is facing certain problems now. Sometimes, this happens when you have a fixed schedule but can't remember certain things in them you do everyday. For example, a person might suddenly find it difficult to cook or to play a certain game.
Treatment for Memory Loss in Young Adults
Certain foods play a very important role in the treatment for memory loss in young adults. It has been proven in some studies that foods that are rich in powerful antioxidants can help even in certain severe cases. Plums, red grapes, most of the berries, brussels, onions and broccoli are certain foods high in antioxidants. Foods rich in Vitamin B are also advised to help in the treatment of memory loss. Another type of food that can help treat memory loss in young adults are foods that contain omega 3 essential fatty acids as they contain nutrients that help in the maintenance of the brain.
There are certain memory improvement exercises that can help in the treatment of memory loss in young adults. These are usually given by the doctors to help the brain retain more memory and to improve the ability of remembering. The person may have to stick to the routine that he/she followed before the illness strictly and someone might have to keep a check on that. Apart from this, doctors may even ask the person to write down everything such as names and numbers of people to help the patient improve his capacity to store information.
The treatment for memory loss in young adults may also include medicines prescribed by a doctor to help improve the present condition and functioning of the brain. People suffering from memory loss also at times suffer from hallucinations and delusions which can be treated with medicines. Other memory loss medication may consist of medicines such as Donepezil (Aricept), Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg), Memantine (Akatinol), Selegeline (Eldepryl), Gingko Biloba, Nootropics, Alpha-tocopherol Galantamine (Reminyl), Tacrine (Cognex), Rivastigmine (Exelon), Neo Tropin, B-secretase inhibitors, Vitamin B, Clioquinol and some cholesterol lowering agents.
Giving Up on Addictions
Giving up on addictions is also a part of memory loss treatment. Memory loss in young adults has to be dealt with a lot of care and addictions can cause certain unwanted problems in the treatment. Addictions like smoking and alcoholism will not only reduce the effects of the treatment, they will also create problems in the proper functioning of the brain which is the most important thing while dealing with memory loss.
Amnesia can be treated with certain medicines and certain surgeries but it is very difficult to ascertain the exact treatment as it differs in every case. I hope this information on types of memory loss in young adults, the symptoms, memory loss causes and the treatment cleared all the questions you had regarding this illness. Sometimes, you can't avoid this happening to you but sometimes, you can. So, remember that someday you may not be able to remember and take care.