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7 Common Causes of Forgetfulness

7 Common Causes of Forgetfulness

David was struggling with his memory along with other issues and was growing concerned about it. Afraid his forgetfulness was a sign of dementia, he went for a brain imaging test called SPECT to see what was really happening in his brain. David’s brain scan looked toxic, and it turned out he was taking a cocktail of medications, including antianxiety pills, which have been found to accelerate memory problems. Making adjustments to his medications made a huge difference in his memory.

David’s Brain:

Healthy Brain:

If you can’t remember where you left your keys, if you blank on your neighbor’s name, or if you forget to pick up bananas at the grocery store, you may be wondering if it’s a memory problem or just everyday forgetfulness. Many people worry that Alzheimer’s disease may be the underlying cause of their memory issues, but there are several causes of forgetfulness that are far more common…and far easier to fix.

Seven Causes of Forgetfulness

1. Not Enough Zzzzz’s

A number of studies link sleep problems to a higher risk of memory issues. Scientists have found that while you sleep, your brain cleans out toxins that build up throughout the day. Without adequate sleep, the brain’s waste management crew does not have enough time to do its job and trash piles up, causing brain fog and memory problems. 

Solution: Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Create a nighttime routine to help promote restful sleep.

2. Underactive Thyroid

SPECT scans of people with low levels of thyroid hormone show overall decreased brain activity, which often leads to cognitive impairment and brain fog. In fact, research shows that more than 80 percent of people with low-grade hypothyroidism have impaired memory function.

Solution: Get your thyroid levels checked and optimize them if necessary.

3. Too Much Multitasking

In some cases, forgetfulness may have less to do with memory problems and more to do with distractions. Research shows that juggling too many tasks takes a toll on the brain’s memory centers. If you’re watching TV while playing a game on your tablet while you’re having a conversation with your spouse, it’s no wonder you may be having trouble remembering what they say.

Solution: If you want to have better recall, pay attention to information you want to remember. Put your phone down, mute the TV, and listen.

4. Head Trauma

A single fall off your bike, a slip off a ladder, or a car accident that causes you to hit your head can have lasting consequences on your memory. Many people don’t connect the dots from a head injury that may have occurred weeks, months, or even years earlier to forgetfulness.

Solution: Healing the underlying brain trauma with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, neurofeedback, and other therapies can help restore cognitive function.

5. Your Medicine Cabinet

Many medications—such as sleep aids, cholesterol-lowering drugs, or those anti-anxiety pills like David was taking—can mess with your memory. For example, sleeping pills act on brain pathways involved in the memory-making process. Cholesterol is critical for healthy brain functioning and decreased levels can interfere with memory. And benzodiazepines for anxiety lower activity in areas of the brain involved in memory formation.

Solution: Talk to your doctor about treatment methods that don’t compromise brain activity and memory.

6. Untreated ADHD

A lack of focus is a common sign of ADD/ADHD, but many people don’t realize that forgetfulness can also be a symptom of the condition. Some of the hallmark symptoms of ADHD, including short attention span, distractibility, and disorganization, may contribute to problems with recall.

Solution: Treating ADHD, naturally or with medication, may improve focus, attention, and organization.

7. Untreated Depression

Studies have shown that untreated depression significantly increases the risk of memory problems. In fact, depression doubles the risk of cognitive impairment in women and quadruples it in men.

Solution: Treating depression is critical to keep your memory sharp.

If you are experiencing forgetfulness that doesn’t improve with lifestyle changes, it’s important to seek help. At Amen Clinics, we use leading-edge brain imaging technology called SPECT along with other assessments to evaluate the underlying causes of memory issues. Our Memory Rescue program has helped many patients improve cognitive function and memory. Reach out today to speak with a specialist at 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit online.

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COMMENTS

  1. Ally MacKenzie says:

    One thing you might add to this list (if it is indeed a factor you have discovered in your research) is sudden and great emotional trauma. Ten years ago, when I was 42, both of my parents suddenly perished in a head-on collision with a half-ton truck on the highway driving home from Toronto, Canada. Of course, my sisters and I were suddenly thrown into chaos, required to multi-task on a variety of things connected to finding out how it happened (still inconclusive) and arrange funerals, etc. My sleep was undoubtedly not very restful and I certainly went through a depression but I felt the sudden trauma was the factor that really made my head spin, so to speak. On top of it all, my sisters and I were living in different cities at the time and I was living on the other side of the world in Tokyo. I found my memory becoming worse and worse over the course of the two to three or four years following the emotional trauma. Of course, I’m growing older (yes, we all are) and my memory has never returned to the pre-trauma phase, but I did notice a great and sudden deterioration in those initial years that I was never really able to recover from.

  2. Mike says:

    Wonder is severe emotional trauma has the kind of impact physical trauma can?

  3. sally s thompson says:

    I came to your Clinic in Reston, and had a full spect study. I have had lifelong ADD; have had a head trauma hitting the windshield of a car in an accident, I was further tested with a Qeeg study, and was told I had brain spikes. i wrote to dr. jorandby to see if your clinic ever worked with anyone with spikes & if so what has been learned about spikes in your clinic, but heard nothing in return. i hoped that Amen Clinic might start to include the effects of brain spikes in a study and write about them for the benefit of people with that added complication within the brain.

    I remain very upset that you have not studied the effects of spikes in the brain, or written about them, and I heard from no one..

    Sally S. Thompson, Pennsylvania.

  4. Helen Marcus says:

    Does grief cause memory loss??
    Does tiredness from inability to sleep well cause memory loss?
    Does overwork caused by the loss of other close work colleagues and friends which drastically increases workoad cause memory loss?
    Does stress from the lack of compassion of your partner cause memory loss especially if he is quick to be angry if you can’t answer straight away.
    If I can memorise 2 hours worth of music to conduct a choir and orchestra remembering all their entries show that your memory is competent
    Does being able to teach full time without forgetting a complicated rolling timetable mean that your memory is competent
    Does being able to learn and memorise a complicated piano accompaniment of professional standard and then adjust during performance when soloist counts incorrectly or misses a beat mean your memory is competent

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