Amnesia is when a person can no longer recall or memorize information that is stored in memory. It can be caused by damage to areas of the brain which are essential for memory processing.
A minimum of 2 percent of people in the United States population has some form of this condition at any given time. Other research suggests that amnesia may affect up to 7 percent of the American population.
Common symptoms may include:
- the person may be unable to recognize locations or faces;
- there may be problems with a total loss of memory, partial, or short-term memory;
- disorientation or confusion;
- tremors and uncoordinated movements;
- false memories that may consist of real memories misplaced in time or completely invented;
- the ability to remember previously familiar information and past events is impaired;
- the ability to learn new information is impaired.
There are a variety of causes for this condition, including:
- sedatives and some medicines used against Parkinson’s disease may cause memory loss over time;
- brain inflammation as a result of an infection with a virus;
- high levels of corticosteroids – hormones formed in the adrenal gland from cholesterol;
- deficiency of the vitamin B1 or thiamine may lead to this condition;
- brain infections such as syphilis, Lyme’s disease, or HIV/AIDS may lead to memory loss;
- lack of adequate oxygen in the brain, for instance, from respiratory distress, a heart attack, or carbon monoxide poisoning;
- tumors of the brain – the most common types of brain tumors among adults are the meningioma, astrocytoma, and oligodendroglioma;
- seizures – they occur because of sudden, abnormal electrical activity in the brain;
- long-term alcohol abuse;
- hormonal changes, especially with lower levels of estrogen in women after menopause;
- a poorly controlled case of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder;
- thyroid problems – people with lower activities of the thyroid gland are at higher risk for this condition;
- brain radiation, cancer chemotherapy, or bone marrow transplant;
- certain types of brain surgery;
- psychological stress during childhood – exposure to family conflict, separation from family, divorce, abuse, illness and hospitalization, a new home or school, death of a loved one, natural disasters, poverty, and adults’ negative discipline techniques.
- people age 50 and older have a higher risk of the condition than do younger people;
- if you have migraines regularly, your risk of the condition is considerably higher than that of someone without migraines.
Spiritual Meaning of Amnesia
Forgetting things on a regular basis may be a sign that you need to learn to forget something that you remember and you don’t want to release, such as events of the past.
If this is the case, it is likely that you have “turned” your thoughts over and over again regarding the same old problems, without actually solving anything.
Try to let these thoughts go consciously; leave the past alone and do not hang on to the things that happened yesterday.
Be here and now and open yourself to the beauties of life every single day. If you can genuinely forget things in the past, you will no longer be absent-minded.
The following healthy habits can lower your risk of this condition:
- stay hydrated, but don’t take your water from carbonated beverages, energy drinks, or sports drinks (like – Gatorade, Powerade, or Pedialyte);
- eat a heart-healthy diet, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts, spices, and legumes; avoid foods high in cholesterol, trans-fat, and saturated fat;
- stay physically active throughout your life – aim for 90 minutes of walking per day or 30 minutes of intense exercise per day, or 60 minutes of moderate exercise (like running) every second day;
- stay mentally active throughout your life – explore new places, take classes, practice mindfulness meditation, play mentally challenging games, and read new books;
- use protective headgear when you are playing sports which may put you at high risk of concussion;
- avoid the use of drugs, tobacco, or alcohol.