Head injuries that cause a concussion, whether from a car accident or sports, can lead to confusion and problems remembering new information. This is especially common in the early stages of recovery. Mild head injuries typically do not cause lasting amnesia, but more-severe head injuries may cause permanent amnesia.
Another rare type of amnesia, called dissociative (psychogenic) amnesia, stems from emotional shock or trauma, such as being the victim of a violent crime. In this disorder, a person may lose personal memories and autobiographical information, but usually only briefly.
The chance of developing amnesia might increase if you’ve experienced:
Brain surgery, head injury or trauma
Amnesia varies in severity and scope, but even mild amnesia takes a toll on daily activities and quality of life. The syndrome can cause problems at work, at school and in social settings.
It may not be possible to recover lost memories. Some people with severe memory problems need to live in a supervised situation or extended-care facility.
Prevention developing amnesia
Because damage to the brain can be a root cause of amnesia, it’s important to take steps to minimize your chance of a brain injury. For example:
Avoid excessive alcohol use.
Wear a helmet when bicycling and a seat belt when driving.
Treat any infection quickly so that it doesn’t have a chance to spread to the brain.
Seek immediate medical treatment if you have any symptoms that suggest a stroke or brain aneurysm, such as a severe headache or one-sided numbness or paralysis.
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