• Mary

Reversible Causes of Memory Loss

Forgetting things is human. No human being has a perfect memory that recalls every piece of information at the time they need it. In fact, some degree of forgetfulness is considered normal as we age. For instance, you can occasionally forget where you left your wallet or a new friend’s name. It’s completely normal. However, when forgetfulness becomes pervasive and impairs daily functioning, it may indicate a mental health issue.

There are many causes of memory loss; some are irreversible, such as dementia,while others are reversible with the right interventions. This article discusses the reversible causes of memory loss and what you can do to eliminate it.

Reversible Causes of Memory Loss

Reversible causes of memory loss are largely treatable, as the name implies, and treating these conditions restores your memory. These reversible causes of memory loss include:

1. Medications

Memory loss could be a side effect of medications that you use. Examples include anticholinergic drugs such as atropine and scopolamine. Medicines in this group are used to treat a wide range of illnesses including motion sickness, diarrhea, asthma, and an overactive bladder.

Other medications that cause memory loss include opioid analgesics, antiseizure drugs, some drugs used in treating depression, and antianxiety drugs.

2. Minor Head Injury

Memory loss is not unusual after a mild head trauma. People who suffer from a mild head injury may find it difficult recalling events that led up to the accident or may even forget how they got to the hospital even if they were conscious. This is not uncommon and usually resolves when the head injury resolves.

3. Depression

It is not uncommon to experience difficulty recalling information when depressed. Depression lowers our cognitive capacities, impairing the brain’s ability to process and store information. As a result, you may find that you become easily forgetful when battling with depression. But the good news is that as you adopt coping skills to combat depression and take antidepressant medications, your memory will likely improve.

4. Medical Conditions

Several medical conditions have a huge impact on our mental health, affecting how we feel, think, and behave. Certain medical conditions affect information collection, processing, and retrieval in our brain’s memory center. These conditions include:

· Hormonal problems such as an underactive thyroid gland and an excessive production of steroid hormones.

· Metabolic disorders such as vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is essential for the development and repair of our nerves. If you don’t have vitamin B12 in adequate amounts in your body, it may impair transmission of signals and connection of nerves that consolidate information in your brain’s memory center.

· Psychological disorders: Psychological disorders such as anxiety, and even everyday stress can impair our brain’s ability to process and store information.

· Chronic alcoholism: This not only impairs memory because it rids out body of vitamin B12, but alcohol also has a direct effect on the brain, damaging nerve connections in certain areas of the brain, including the parts that control emotions and memory.

· Brian tumors: Brain tumors can cause direct effects on several parts of the brain, depending on which area of the brain they are located. Tumors around the memory center of the brain may impair transmission of signals between nerve fibers in this center, causing memory loss.

· Infectious diseases: Infections such as HIV, meningitis, and tuberculosis may have direct effects on brain cells, both impairing signal transmission and formation of nerve connections. This may cause memory loss if it affects the part of the brain that controls memory.

What to do?

When forgetfulness becomes persistent and disruptive, it may be time to check with your doctor. Your doctor will ask certain questions and order several investigations to find out what’s causing it. Questions your doctor will ask may include your level of alcohol consumption, medications you currently use, or if you’ve had any history of a head injury.

Irreversible causes of memory loss, such as dementia, may not go away as damage to the memory center is often permanent. However, if your doctor makes a diagnosis of any of these irreversible causes, he or she will write prescriptions and make recommendations on lifestyle changes that will help reverse the symptom.

You may also consider some self-help tips, which includes joining a community of people with similar problems to get support. Other coping tips include using memory aids, getting adequate sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and staying hydrated.


​T: 08 9467 2272 

F: 08 6313 0920

​E: support@epsychiatry.com.au

This is not an emergency service. Same day consults are not available. If you are in distress please contact your nearest emergency department, your local area mental health service triage or dial "000".  

Copyright © 2020 Epsychiatry Pty. Ltd.  All rights reserved.