Amnesia is a kind of deficit in memory which is caused by brain damage, disease or psychological trauma and can also be caused temporarily due to use of various sedatives and hypnotic drugs which can cause loss of memory.
Memory can be wholly or partially lost based on the extent of the damage that may be caused to the brain. The two types of amnesia are retrograde amnesia and anterograde amnesia, In the case of retrograde amnesia it is the inability to retrieve information which has been acquired before a date, it could be the date of an operation or an accident, while in some cases, the loss of memory may stretch way back to decades and in still other cases, the person may tend to lose memory only for a few months.
Anterograde amnesia is the difficulty to transfer new information from short term to long term and people with this type of ailment have problem in remembering things for long period of time. It is basically normal to be a little forgetful at times as one begins to age, though memory loss associated with these symptom needs attention and should be checked by a physician for precautionary measures.
Loses Ability to Recall Events/Information
Memory loss takes place when the person loses the ability to recall events and information, they would in normal situations be able to recall, which could take place only seconds or minutes ago or a memorable event that could have happened in the past and this loss of memory could have started all of a sudden or could have been processing over a period of time.
This could be very disturbing and distressing to the affected person along with their family members. Persons suffering from amnesia should visit the physician at the earliest where an initial assessment and queries are conducted related to the symptoms, family history together with the life style of the individual and probably a blood test may also be done.
There are a wide range of possible causes for memory loss based on the type of loss namely immediate memories related to sound which are only stored for a few seconds. Short term or recent memories relates to telephone numbers which tend to remain in the memory for 15- 20 seconds since the brain can store around seven kinds of short term information at any time.
Anterograde/Retrograde/Transient Global/Traumatic Amnesia
Long term or remote memories relate to permanent memories which tend to be reinforced due to repeatedly going over them in the mind. The different types of amnesia besides anterograde and retrograde amnesia are transient global amnesia wherein there is a temporary loss of memory and the patient with this type of amnesia finds it hard to form new memories and may be suffering from severe anterograde amnesia.
Past memories loss is milder and is a very rare form of amnesia. Moreover a transient global person may be older and tend to have a vascular disease which is a problem related to blood vessels. Traumatic amnesia memory loss could be caused by a hard blow on the head. Mostly people who have a car accident may lose their memory and suffer from traumatic amnesia.
They may experience brief loss of consciousness or at times go into a coma. In most cases the amnesia seems to be temporary though the period of memory loss depends on the impact of the injury.