Short Term Memory Loss- An Overview
Short Term Memory loss is a heavy word for small events where we forget things. But, the sad truth is that however minute and silly it may be, it is a memory loss.
It all comes from your brain! Does it mean that your brain is not functioning properly? Or, does it signify some big “coming soon” ailment?
What exactly is memory loss? And, to be specific, what is short term memory loss? Let us find the answers together.
What is short term memory loss?
You know that you have a very sharp memory. You remember things which happened years ago. You remember your childhood days and every significant event. But, suddenly, your memory exhibits some blank behaviour.
You feel something missing from your memory, and you are not able to recognise it. You came to the kitchen to take something, but what is that “something”? You just couldn’t recall the very familiar name in your head.
You came in the room to switch off the lights, but suddenly you realise the blankness and ask yourself “why was I here?” You miss one of your important meetings, of which you were notified just a few hours ago.
You may say “Oh, Never mind!” and, neglect these small events, but these events direct you towards a message! Short term memory loss!
This is a very common problem, and people fear from the fact that it may be the initial stage of Alzheimer. But, this is just a fact. The cases are rare. You may be suffering from shortage of oxygen supply to your brain or this could be a result of some accident or injury.
Alcoholism and drug abuse are also some of the leading causes.
Now, technically, if we talk about the short term memory, we infer that it is the information stored just a few minutes or seconds ago. It may also include the memory of the past few days.
The significance of the short term memory is very low, due to which the brain limits the ability to recall it.
Short term memory loss test
Taking a test is necessary for early diagnosis and proper treatment. You can visit your healthcare provider or you may take the test yourself on “online” basis.
If you visit the doctor, he/she may ask you about your medical issues in the past years or months. You might need to deliver him/her the reports and further, your test might be taken by asking a set of questions.
Don’t worry, the questions will be memory based. You may also be required to undergo the blood tests in order to check the deficiency of various different minerals and vitamins.
MRI, CT scans and other techniques might be used to map your brain. Consult an experienced psychologist or therapist.
If you have a doubt and before consulting it with the doctor you wish to take the test on your own, then online short term memory loss tests are available on various websites.
For instance, try to memorize these words:
Now, try to write these words on a piece of paper. Try to spell the words correctly and if possible, write them in order. Are you able to recall them all?
How many words did you get correct? Based on your age and gender, you will be provided with the set of appropriate answers.
There are more such tests made just for your needs and comfort. Start surfing!
Some tests might be misleading and direct you to wrong conclusions. Do not rely on them. Some may ask you for investments and do marketing of their products and services. Always go for a proper check up by the doctor and be aware.
Short term memory loss causes
Short term memory loss is about forgetting the things which have occurred recently. The brain filters the short term memory data and, you must know that some of the data escapes.
The underlying causes may be as follows:
- Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea is a mental disorder which disturbs the process of breathing during the night. You may wake up with the headache in the morning or feel restless the whole day. Due to the disturbance in the breathing process, the body experiences the deficiency of the oxygen, especially in the brain. This results in the memory loss symptoms to occur.
Strokes occur when the blood vessels are blocked in the brain. This results in the outbreak of a variety of mental illnesses and memory problems. The brain dysfunctions and there is reduced flow of oxygen and nutrients. This is taken as a red signal of the upcoming problem.
- Improper medication
Consumption of many drugs as medicines can be harmful for the development of the brain and its function. The memory is drastically affected. Sleeping pills, antihistamines, anti-depressants, pain killers and various diabetes medicines risk your mental health.
You may find it amusing that there are over 20 drugs which can cause memory loss and damage your brain health!
- Deficiency of nutrients
You must know that there are specific vitamins and minerals which are essential for the brain health. Vitamin B12 is one of them. If the quantity of the vitamin is not sufficient in your body, then your body may experience dementia signs and confusion in thoughts. Time to fetch some healthy food, dear!
- Stress and Depression
The situations of anxiety and stress are responsible for the loss of concentration and memory problems. This cause is dominant in the “workaholic” category of people, who have been loaded with work and responsibilities.
They do not get plenty of sleep and their nutrition also lags behind. They have mood swings and may also be prone to other mental problems.
Some other causes are listed below!
- Accidents and injuries on the head
- Alcoholism and drug abuse
- Tumours in brain
There are several other mental disorders which can cause the short term memory loss.
Short term memory loss symptoms
Short term memory loss can turn out to be a daily life battle. You may not take it seriously, but it is a severe consequence of the above mentioned causes. The memory loss is easily understood as the “forgetfulness” action of brain. This phenomenon states your inability to recall the events which happened just moments ago.
Symptoms are characterised by the specific causes. Let us make a fact very clear that memory loss is commonly associated with the aging process. But, the normal aging process does not cause the actual “short term memory loss”.
Some common symptoms are:
- Confusion and tangled thought processing
- Some change in the mental position
- Concentration and focus problems
- Some instances for mild short term memory loss:
- You may misplace the very familiar and common objects
- You may skip the right word and find difficulty to recall it
- You just went through something and couldn’t recall it
- You come inside the room and could not make out what was the reason
- You get confused with the very familiar names
If you experience any of the above, you are at an intermediate level of this mental problem. But, if you experience the below ones, it is time for quick action.
- You lose your way to some familiar place. You are not able to recall the surroundings and the people.
- You have been reading a book or a novel, and you find it difficult to interpret its meaning. Even, you find to understand the plot of the movie, very difficult.
- You may face difficulty in your daily life activities. Simple tasks such as cooking and cleaning will not be properly done.
- You do not remember what you ate in your breakfast or lunch or dinner. You might not even remember that you have eaten the whole day or not.
- You ask a question several times. Once, twice, thrice or so many times!
- You might notice some changes in your personality and behaviour.
The symptoms are well noticed by your near and dear ones. Always keep on asking for reviews from them.
Sudden short term memory loss
The memory losses are frightening. You may get scared at first thinking “what could it be?”, “why it has happened?” and what not. You may be worried about your near and dear ones. And, when it is the case of sudden short term memory loss, it can be scarier!
Such memory losses are sudden and occur any time. They are temporary and can be due to strokes, epilepsy, brain tumour or any other reason.
Short term memory loss treatment
Once you identify with memory loss phenomenon, it is time to go for the treatment. As soon as you come to know, begin with the solution process. You can undergo mental exercises and boost your memory with power of concentration. Thinking about how to do them?
- Do not multitask as of now. Keep it simple and easy to do. Do one thing at once. If you do many tasks at a single time, you are likely to forget things and get confused.
- Do not get distracted while you have your focus on one thing.
- Do not worry and panic about things to be done tomorrow or day after tomorrow. Do not over think and mix up your thoughts. Focus on the present and do the work with full concentration.
- “Do it like a kid” method works here. Learn words and numbers by repeating them constantly in your head. Say it out loud or in your head, it is all your choice.
- In case of numbers, you can always break them in pieces and learn part by part in a rhythm.
- If you feel that you may forget something, then write it down somewhere. Writing will make a mark of the word/number in your head. So, it would be easy for you to recall and remember.
- Go for walks in fresh air and meditate.
- Follow a lifestyle which is healthy for your brain as well as the body. After all, both go hand in hand to make the complete you.
- Talk to your doctor for the proper medication, if needed.
Awareness at the right time can save you. “A stitch in time saves nine”!
Short term memory loss in elderly
Elder people experience memory loss to a great extent. They develop a habit of forgetting. This habit is initially not a habit, you must have understood by now. It may be linked to some serious health problems rather than a simple aging process. The roots may be linked to dementia or Alzheimer.
Elders may laugh it off by saying “it is a part of the aging process”. But, it is certainly not. It is the sign of the poor mental health and can turn out to be pretty serious.
We agree that aging brings about various mental changes. The speed of thought processing slows down and the quickness in understanding evades. The ability to combat daily life problems decreases and the confusion increases.
Elders usually forget where they kept their glasses or dentures. It takes a little longer to learn things and adapt to the environment. These mental changes are mild. You must be able to distinguish between the mild and severe memory losses.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in adults, especially in elder women. Medication and alcoholism has also great impacts. Thyroid, Kidney and Liver disorders are also memory loss causes. Emotional problems make the person lose their memory, and this sometimes can be taken as dementia. Sadness, worries and the boredom are some issues which make the people confused and forget things.
- Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment
In this memory issue, the elders experience more memory problems than the other normal people of their age. Symptoms might not be severe, but the frequency is a signal of the alarming situation. Memory lapses are common in this, and the person should make a visit to the doctor.
Dementia is a common mental issue in adults. It is the “loss of thinking, memory and reasoning skills to such an extent that it seriously affects the person’s ability to carry out daily activities”. It is characterised by a set of symptoms:
- Not able to recall the things
- Repeating things and actions. You may ask questions repeatedly and do something again and again.
- In a very familiar location, you may find yourself lost.
- You have problem in understanding things.
- You get confused with the thoughts and people.
- You are not able to take care of personal hygiene
- You neglect proper nutrition
- You are not careful about your personal safety
Dementia is dominant in two forms in adults:
- Vascular dementia
Proper diagnosis can lead to proper treatment, and you may find yourself in better position soon then.
Severe short term memory loss
What does “severe” mean? It shows the seriousness of the short term memory loss. In many cases, as we said, the symptoms are of the mild range. But, seriousness grows when you experience the following:
- You have trouble in doing tasks which you have been doing since years and at which you are just near to perfect.
- You find difficulty in daily life activities such as cleaning, cooking, folding clothes and organising your things.
- Normal memory does not worsen over the time period, but the severe memory loss does. The intensity of the memory loss keeps on increasing day by day. It may be hard at first to figure out the severity, but you can constantly ask your family and friends to check upon your behaviour.
Always keep on looking for the signs and symptoms.
Short term memory loss in children
Not just the adults are vulnerable to memory losses. Short term memory loss is common in children as well. Do you feel your child is suffering from memory loss? If he has trouble in recalling work done in school or confusion in understanding, or any other sign which you can relate to memory loss, then you are at the right junction to study about this further.
Diagnosing memory loss in children can be pretty tough. Children are not able to understand their thought process themselves and fail to express their feelings. Parents and family members find it difficult to interpret the behaviour many a times.
We suggest you that you carefully observe your child and his behaviour. Is he able to do the tasks properly? Ask him to fetch glass of water or put plates in the kitchen. Ask him to organise his own toys and books properly.
Watch him while studying. Is he able to grasp things properly? Do you find something missing in your child? Observe carefully. Some common behavioural aspects can signal you towards a serious mental health condition.
What can be the causes of short term memory loss in children?
- Anti-anxiety medication
- Lead poisoning
- Traumatic event
- Stress disorder
- Drug use
- Brain tumour
Do not let these monsters attack your child’s mental health. For diagnosis, opt for proper scanning techniques and blood tests. Adopt therapies to interact with the child and develop changes in him which are beneficial for his health.
You can encourage your child to do some exercise and meditation. Teach him how to do it and perform together. Ensure his balanced diet and nutritional requirements. Make your child express his feelings and emotions.
Let him be a little creative. Make him do the activities! Go for recreational fun. Make him participate in art and crafts, writing, reading, photography, swimming etc. Make an outlet of his negative energy, and keep on motivating him.
Your child has a lot potential! Dealing can be quite difficult sometimes, but you are a responsible parent. Care for him and love him. Share smiles and let him feel the warmth of your love.
How to help someone with short term memory loss?
The family members and near-n-dear people of the patient are usually scared when they see memory loss symptoms. They may be worried about the patient, and want to help him out in the treatment process.
A supportive environment has been found to cure the memory loss at a faster pace. Also, the warmth of love and care makes the sufferer feel better, because forgetting things frequently is not someone is used to.
The family members can also encourage and motivate the person to do mental and physical exercises. Meditation and yoga helps to a large extent.
Playing crossword puzzles and other games which are played in groups can help in releasing the negative energy of the brain. Socialising helps a lot. Help the person to organise his things and work.
Do not take it as a “burden” on your shoulders. Whatever you do, do it from the heart!
Short term memory loss alcohol
Alcohol has been associated with many mental health issues. Why?
- Difficulty in motion
- Vision problems
- Speech problems
- Reaction and response power degradation
- Memory impairment
These are the common outcomes of alcoholism, which, in the long run, can be detrimental.
How much a person drinks? How often he drinks? What is his age? And, for how long he drinks? What is the genetic background? And, what is the general health status?
When you get answers to all these questions, you will get to know the extent of effect alcohol has upon your mental health. Even the degree of memory loss is greatly influenced.
The science says that the brain has a function of making memories. Alcohol consumption puts a pause to this function and the brain is not able to make memories in this case. In the longer run, the alcoholism makes the brain cells develop a habit of not storing even the long term memory. This phenomenon is called long term potentiation (LTP).
This is because the brain cells in the hippocampus lose their ability to make connections. And, no connections correspond to none data transferred and stored.
Short term memory loss treatment naturally
Nature has a cure to all of the man’s ailments. Here we have some of our botanical soldiers to rescue you from the shackles of short term memory loss.
- Gingko Biloba
This is the herb widely used in parts of Europe and America. It has the power to boost the memory and thinking capacity by shielding the nerve cells from the severe mental disorders. It improves the daily life functioning and reduces stress.
Blood circulation improves and brain develops holistically. This is because of the presence of two chemicals in the leaves of this herb- flavanoids and terpenoids. They are the antioxidants. Do you know what antioxidants do? They avoid the free radical formation, which are responsible for many ailments.
It influences memory impairment to a large extent. It also activates the neurotransmitters and enhances memory.
This has been used traditionally to aid the memory related problems. The herb has antioxidant properties and reduces the anxiety levels. The power of concentration is improved along with the sharpened memory.
- Green Tea
Antioxidant properties make the green tea extracts suitable for the people suffering from short term memory loss.
Short term memory loss after heart attack
Research work and various studies have shown that heart attack survivors experience brain health issues. There might be some problems associated with focus and attention, and a significant memory loss.
Cardiac arrest leads to the abrupt supply of oxygen to the brain. This causes long lasting effects on brain health. The outcome can be dementia as well. Memories built up are fuzzy and unclear.
Scientists say that the treatment of heart attack can be in such a way that the person is saved from the after-effects as well. The health issues should be tackled with exercises and proper nutrition, if possible.
The patient should remain stress free and, don’t worry, it may take time, but it will be okay.
Short term memory loss in teenager
Can short term memory losses occur in teenagers as well? Yes, if it can affect children as well as the adults, then the teenagers are at risk as well. After all, the teenage years are the crucial years of physical and emotional development.
The memories are stored in the temporal lobe region and the hippocampus. Memory loss necessarily doesn’t mean that these parts of the brain are damaged. In teenagers, the causes can be distraction and lack of attention.
When there is some disturbance which deviate the focus from the important information which needs to be memorized, the information gets lost amidst the foggy streets of mind. Divided attention also leads to memory loss.
The speed at which a teenager grasps and processes information is also a determining factor. Adolescents are very emotional and influential, due to which one needs to consider this aspect as well in order to define the causes.
When you slowly unravel the different stages of causes of memory loss in teens, you will get to know the proper cause in your teenager, and this will help in diagnosis.
Some other causes are as follows:
- Stress and nervousness
- Sudden injury or blow
- Smoking or drinking
- Lack of sleep
- Nutritional deficiency
- Global or psychogenic amnesia
If you find any of the causes existing in your teen, consult a doctor soon. Follow proper diet plan and exercise.
Difference between short term and long term memory loss
Short term memory loss is when the brain is unable to store the information that occurred few moments ago or even few days ago. But, there is a memory named “long term memory” which accounts for the ability of the brain to recall the events which occurred long ago. The time period can be as old as 30 years or more.
Long term memory loss patients have trouble in recalling the past memories. The causes of long term memory loss are quite similar to that of short term memory loss.
- Damage to the neo-cortex region due to physical injuries or trauma
- Substance abuse
- Due to degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer
The treatment is easy and adaptable. It includes using the different senses and portions of brain. Exercise and eat well!
Drugs for short term memory loss
We have been constantly telling you that some drugs in form of medication cause the memory loss. We should be aware of the drugs and their uses so that we can prepare for the upcoming. Be careful with the doses!
- The “Anti-“ category
You must know the words beginning with the prefix “anti”, for instance, antihistamines, antidepressants, antibiotics, antipsychotics etc. These drugs affect the neurotransmitter, Acetylcholine, which contributes in the functions related to memory and learning. The deficiency causes the problems in concentration and focussing. Dementia and Alzheimer are associated with the deficiency of this neurotransmitter.
There are some drugs which completely interfere with the Acetylcholine. They cause confusion in thought process and blurred images in mind. Even constipation is connected to the side effects. The process of urination might have problems. There may be loss of control on bladder.
- Sleeping pills
Another set of drugs which take you to the drastic consequences are sleeping pills. People who take these pills, for example, sonata and Ambein , complain for experiencing memory losses.
- Statin Drugs
These are the drugs which are termed as “cholesterol-reducing”. Cholesterol is essential for the memory and learning function. It makes neurotransmitters. Thus, cholesterol reducing drugs will obviously affect the brain health.
- Chemotherapy drugs
These drugs have a significant effect on brain and are responsible for the loss of memory.
- High blood pressure drugs
And there are many more!
The better you take notice, the better you can take care of yourself.