Memory loss seems like the stuff you watch in movies – a blow to the head and the person walks around aimlessly, lost. While a hit on the head can be a cause for memory loss, there are numerous other physiological and non-physiological reasons behind memory loss.
Loss of memory can be of two types – short-term and long-term. Diagnosing the reason behind the memory loss is crucial to their treatment regime. To evaluate memory loss, your doctor will first take your medical history. This will be followed by a physical examination along with a detailed neurologic examination. Further evaluations might include blood and urine tests as well as an MRI or CT scan.
Your doctor will formulate a treatment regime depending on the underlying cause and severity of the specific condition. Depending on the underlying reasons, memory loss may be reversible in some cases. Treatment usually entails a change in lifestyle, medication and inclusion of some other therapies.
For example, memory loss can result from the deficiency of proper nutrition, more specifically Vitamins B1 and B12. In such a case, adding nutritional supplements to the diet can reverse memory loss. Since depression, anxiety and stress can also lead to some level of memory loss, treatment of the underlying depression is a good point for making changes.
And in cases of stroke, therapy can help in teaching people to get back some of their lost skills; in others, the memory may get better with time. There are drugs available also to help keep blood pressure in check in people liable to getting brain damage and consequent memory loss due to high blood pressure. Drugs are available also for memory loss problems related to mild cognitive disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.
And in cases where the memory loss is triggered by the medications being taken routinely, then there is always the option to either change the medicines or its dose to minimize memory loss effects. This is a common occurrence with epilepsy patients where dose monitoring and drug regulation becomes essential.
With some amnesia patients, occupational therapy is given instead of medications. With this, patients are able to re-learn information that has been forgotten. There are memory training techniques whereby the patient is taught to organize and process information and build on it further. Sometimes music therapy helps in calming down the person to help them recollect past memories.
The therapists can also teach the patient about lifestyle strategies that can improve memory impairments. Staying calm and avoiding rushing, having a routine, using memory aids like PDAs, diaries, calendars, maps and pillboxes can all help the patient regain control of their lives again.