Amnesia - it is a disease manifested in the loss of cognitive ability to maintain events or knowledge, as well as the inability to recreate the accumulated material. Simply put, amnesia is a complete loss of memory or partial. Memory is one of the cognitive processes that invariably occur in the psyche of individuals, in the accumulation of skills and knowledge, their storage and reproduction. More often there is a loss of ability to reproduce recent significant events. Often, memory loss is spontaneous, of a temporary nature. The recall is done in chronological order. Older first returns. Memories of the circumstances preceding the loss of memory, for example, as a result of suffering a traumatic situation, are often never returned. The described disease can be observed in subjects who are in the elderly age stage.

The causes of amnesia in the elderly are due to the natural degenerative processes occurring in the brain. Amnesia can also be diagnosed in subjects staying at a younger age, but for other reasons.

Causes of amnesia

As mentioned above, the causes of amnesia in the elderly, often due to natural processes. But often memory loss occurs due to various diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease.

In young people, amnesia can be caused by the presence of psychological disorders or occur as a result of the damaging effects of various kinds of factors on the structures and brain regions. Among the most common causes provoking the emergence of the disease, can be identified:

- traumatic brain injuries (in particular damage to the temporal areas of the brain);

- the presence of infectious or inflammatory processes;

- excessive use of alcohol-containing beverages;

- intoxication of various etiologies, including those caused by poisoning with medicines (for example, barbiturates);

- psychological trauma;

- excessive emotional stress;

- constant stress;

- frequent migraines;

- severe fatigue

- epilepsy;

- schizophrenia;

- Alzheimer's disease;

- defects of cerebral circulation (for example, due to atherosclerosis of the cerebral capillaries);

- senile dementia;

- tumor processes in the brain;

- insufficient nutrition.

Temporary amnesia and its causes may also be due to the presence of various kinds of diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, a brain tumor, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy. In addition to the common causes of short-term memory loss include depression, dyslexia.

Temporary amnesia causes depend on the frequency of consumption of alcohol-containing liquids, taking drugs or certain drugs. Among the most frequently encountered factors provoking the onset of a condition in which an individual cannot reproduce certain events of his own life or previously acquired skills, secrete stroke, alcoholism, human immunodeficiency virus, prolonged depressive states, meningitis, marasmus, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Other causes of short-term memory loss include cerebrovascular disorders, cranial injuries, neurodegenerative diseases, normotensive hydrocephalus, thyroid disorders, Wilson’s disease, sleep disorders, psychological disorders, and transient ischemic disorders.

A stroke is today considered the most likely factor leading to short-term memory loss. In accordance with the research conducted by American scientists, the impaired cerebral circulation resulting from a stroke affects the mechanism of memorization of data by an individual in various ways. For example, some stroke patients are not able to memorize new knowledge after what happened.

In some cases, short-term amnesia causes concussion, which occurred as a result of traumatic brain injury.

One of the least common factors that provokes the onset of a state of memory loss, but still, an unbalanced daily diet is likely. Often, subjects seeking to quickly get rid of excess weight, especially female, follow the most severe diet, which leads to drops in blood sugar levels. Its reduced content causes drowsiness and often leads to short-term amnesia. In addition, this disease can provoke dissociative personality disorders.

Dissociated amnesia is the loss of recent significant events, some facts of personal life, along with the preservation of all other events and skills. Often occurs after suffering mental trauma, death of loved ones. At the same time, suffering from amnesia, has no organic lesions of brain processes and has not suffered from intoxication or overwork. Memory is lost exclusively in the waking state; when introduced into hypnotic sleep, the patient can recreate events.

Psychogenic amnesia or dissociative fugue is a rather serious condition characterized by an absolute loss of memories of your own biography. It comes as a result of an extreme situation or mental injury. A patient can leave completely to forget his own biographical data for several hours and even months, and then he can suddenly remember everything, but at the same time forget the events that happened to him during the fugue.

Memory loss may be the only symptom of the disease or it may be accompanied by agnosia, apraxia, aphasia. Often, patients replace lost memories with false ones - confabulations, and can also distort events occurring with him - paramnesia.

Herpes encephalitis, metabolic encephalopathy, emotional shock, degenerative diseases of brain structures can lead to the loss of memories.

In addition, they distinguish diseases associated with amnesia and memory loss. Among these ailments can be identified concussion, traumatic brain injury, Korsakov syndrome and mental illness.

Retrograde amnesia can occur with concussion.

Anterol retardation amnesia - after more serious injuries.

Retardated amnesia can develop as a result of late post-traumatic psychosis.

Fixed amnesia (it is a complete loss of memories of everyday events), along with retrograde, is characteristic of Korsakov syndrome.

An amnesic sufferer is unable to remember, for example, where he lives, with whom he previously talked, had breakfast or not. In such patients, space-time perception is impaired. At the same time, they remember well enough more distant events. Epilepsy is characterized by the development of memory loss exclusively for the period of an epileptic seizure. Memory loss can also cause prolonged brain hypoxia, for example, due to cessation of blood circulation, carbon monoxide poisoning, asphyxiation.

Intoxication amnesia is characterized by the loss of events that occurred during carbon monoxide poisoning, alcohol, pesticides, narcotic drugs, barbiturates. Lost memories are not restored.

In mental illness, hysterical amnesia is observed, consisting in the selective loss of unpleasant memories, "bad" events, unfavorable circumstances.

Symptoms of amnesia

Memory loss is often characterized by spontaneity, but it can also have a progressive course, which is more often observed in older subjects, due to the presence of irreversible degenerative processes in the brain.

Spontaneous amnesia is mainly associated with various traumatic circumstances that may have a psychological or mechanical nature. Also, the loss of memory is partial, in which the individual forgets only some life events, or complete - when individuals are not able to remember their name and all past events. At the same time, subjects with a complete loss of memories retain basic social skills at a physiological level. There are diseases in which there is a partial loss of memories, and the overall picture of life is not disturbed in the representation of individuals. In addition, often patients with amnesia can replace their memories in their minds with false ideas or distort past events.

The main signs of amnesia: violation of spatial orientation, confusion, severe headaches, loss of memories, impaired recognition of loved ones, depressive and anxious states.

The main danger of this condition is considered the impossibility of the customary life of the individual. The subject suffering from this disease, it is difficult to engage in labor activity and adequately perceive reality. The most frequent alarming effects of amnesia are suicidal attempts, prolonged depressive states, alcoholism, sexual dysfunction, sleep disorders, sleepwalking.

Symptoms of amnesia characterize its types, on which, in turn, depends on the symptoms.

For example, the main manifestation of retrograde amnesia will be the loss of memories of situations that precede a traumatic event or disease that caused its occurrence.

Antegrade amnesia is characterized by a disorder in the process of mastering new knowledge or assimilating information, recent situations are forgotten, but the memory of events that have long passed is preserved.

Post-traumatic loss of memory caused by trauma to the head is manifested mainly by short-term loss of memories. The patient is not able to remember what happened before the onset of injury, as with retrograde amnesia, but in addition, he has headaches, visual disturbances may occur, increased acoustic or photosensitivity is observed. Memories come back as a result of treatment.

Fixative amnesia has the following symptoms: time intervals in the memories, a violation of spatial orientation and the impossibility of orientation in his own personality. The symptoms described are paroxysmal. A decrease in motor coordination, cardiac arrhythmia, impaired sensitivity and headaches are also noted.

Posthypnotic amnesia refers to not recreating the memory of the individual events that occurred under hypnosis.

Dissociative amnesia, which is manifested in the loss of information about entire periods of life, the forgetfulness of words, a violation of the motor circuit, the loss of information about objects, is considered to be severe cases of loss of memories.

The state of dissociative fugue can sometimes last several days. In these few days, individuals do not remember who they are, they can replace their own personality with another. There are also memory losses inherent in each individual - childhood amnesia, characterized by the abrasion of some childhood memories, the initial amnesia manifested by the weariness of memories of the source of information.

Types of amnesia

Today in medicine there are the following types of amnesia and their features, namely, anterograde, having a connection with the loss of the ability to memorize faces or events, retrograde, characterized by the absence of memories preceding the onset of the disease, traumatic, arising after the impact, falling, that is, due to injury, fixation, dissociative, which is a consequence of mental trauma, Korsakov syndrome, localized, selective, confabulation.

Korsakov syndrome occurs as a result of vitamin B1 deficiency due to malnutrition, excessive alcohol intake, often after head injuries. Its main symptom is the inability to memorize the events occurring now while maintaining memory for past events.

Localized amnesia can occur with a disorder of one or several memory modalities. It is associated with focal lesions of certain brain regions and is combined with loss of memory for words, loss of motor skills and the ability to recognize objects.

Selective amnesia is the loss of memories for certain events that are psychic and stressful.

Dissociative amnesia is characterized by severe consequences caused by the complete loss of the patient’s memories of himself and his own biography.

False memories or confabulations are often the most pronounced early symptoms. They are associated with impaired memory for close events. With the chronic course of the disease, confabulations are less noticeable. A disoriented patient substitutes facts of reality, which are not able to be remembered, imagined or actually happened, but under different circumstances. Such patients can describe imaginary events very convincingly. Since confabulations occur only when other cognitive functions are preserved, with dementia, the described symptom will either not appear at all or will be mild.

In addition to the described varieties of amnesia, such types of amnesia and their features as transient, global and psychogenic amnesia should be distinguished.

The first type is characterized by the sudden onset of deep confusion associated with a memory disorder. This condition can last from thirty minutes to twelve hours, sometimes more. During an attack, sheer disorientation is noted (only self-orientation is preserved), which is accompanied by retrograde amnesia, which extends to events that have occurred in the last years of life. As you recover, retrograde amnesia gradually regresses. In most cases, there is a full recovery. The cause of the described condition is considered to be transient ischemia, provoking a bilateral disorder in the functioning of the hippocampus or posterior medial thalamus. In people of relatively young age, migraine may be the cause.

Psychogenic amnesia is characterized by specific features and can affect memories, both of recent and distant events. It is characterized by a tendency to increase with emotional crises. Memories of distant events are violated as well as the memory of the recent events. Often, patients may experience a violation of self-identification.

Retrograde amnesia

This type of amnesia is a pathological disorder in which the subject is not able to reproduce information about the circumstances preceding the injury. That is, retrograde amnesia memory loss is characterized by loss of several hours from it, days, often even weeks. At the same time, patients well remember everything that happened to them in the distant past, especially significant moments, such as graduation party, wedding, birth of a baby, etc.

This type of anamnestic syndrome is manifested only in the partial loss of mental functions. If to understand, the forgotten moments are recorded in memory, but there is a problem with their re-creation by the individual.

The main and practically the only manifestation of retrograde amnesia is the inability to recall moments before the injury or illness. The individual does not understand why he was in this place, what happened to him, with whom he had communicated before the injury. Such a patient looks disoriented and slightly confused. During the first hours, he may experience difficulties with the assimilation of new data and ask similar questions to others. Then the attack passes, and the memorization function is fully restored.

Treatment of retrograde amnesia should be complex and include traditional medicine, that is, the appointment of stimulating blood circulation and heart-improving drugs, nootropics and neuroprotectors, trace elements and vitamins, as well as physical therapy: electrostimulation of the cerebral cortex, color therapy, acupuncture, etc.

If amnesia is caused by a disease, then treatment is prescribed according to the underlying disease. Often, in order to fill in the memory gaps, hypnotherapy is launched, which allows patients to accurately recreate all the "lost" moments of life.

Properly matched treatment of retrograde amnesia leads to complete healing of patients.

Amnesia treatment

Many are worried about the question: "amnesia, what to do?". In the first turn, you need not to panic, and immediately contact the experts.

Since the memory mechanisms are rather complicated, the recovery of lost memories is quite problematic, but possible. The outcome of the disease depends, first of all, on the cause of the memory loss, the timeliness of detection and proper treatment. Поэтому лечебные мероприятия включают: назначение препаратов, действие которых направлено на излечение основного заболевания, нейропсихологическую реабилитацию, физиотерапию и психотерапию.

It is believed that with age, problems with remembering are the norm, but what should people do if manifestations are steadily progressing, if a person can no longer think about anything except: "amnesia, what to do"? Age-related memory impairment can be associated with excessive cholesterol levels, which are deposited in the brain capillaries, thereby preventing free circulation, and degenerative changes occurring in the brain tissue itself. Therefore, the main task of treatment in age amnesia will be to prevent further memory loss. It is necessary to understand that a complete recovery in this case is impossible, but a significant slowdown of the processes is quite realistic, which will give many years of life filled with all sorts of events that will be fixed by memory.

Memory in older subjects is characterized by specific features. Most of them can not remember the dishes at yesterday's dinner, but is able to tell in some detail about some of the events of his youth.

The main focus of treatment of senile amnesia is medication, which includes: vascular drugs (for example, Trental), neuroprotectors and nootropes (for example, Piracetam, Cerebrolysin), drugs that directly affect memory and reproduction (for example, Memantine, Glycine).