Memory disorders go beyond occasional forgetfulness, hindering one’s ability to make, retain, and retrieve memories. They can be the result of progressive neurological disease or sudden brain injury, and can range from mild to severe cognitive impairment. Some types of memory disorders are treatable, if they are caused by physical or mental health issues. For instance, side effects from certain medications, vitamin B12 deficiency, chronic alcoholism, infections, or blood clots can cause memory loss, as well as thyroid, kidney, or liver disorders. Emotional problems such as stress, anxiety, or depression can also impact memory, and may appear to be a more serious disorder, yet they can be mitigated through proper treatment and care. Frequent memory problems in the elderly, however, are often a sign of more serious underlying issues.
Memory disorders include:
- Dementia – a descriptive term for a collection of symptoms that can be caused by a number of memory disorders that affect the brain.
- Alzheimer’s disease – a progressive, neurodegenerative disease characterized by abnormal clumps (amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (neurofibrillary tangles) composed of misplaced proteins in the brain.
- Pick’s disease – a rare and permanent form of dementia, Pick's disease is similar to Alzheimer's disease, except that it tends to affect only certain areas of the brain.Transient global amnesia – a temporary, but almost total, disruption of short-term memory causing a range of problems accessing older memories.