Normal memory loss vs dementia
There is a difference between normal memory loss and a more serious condition like dementia. Many people experience minor memory loss and forgetfulness as they get older, and this is a normal part of aging. However, these memory lapses can sometimes be a sign of dementia.
There is one primary difference between normal ARML and dementia: ARML has little impact on your daily performance, and you’re able to live a normal and independent life. Dementia, on the other hand, is a persistent decline in your memory, language, judgment and abstract thinking.
For example, forgetting where you put your car keys is a sign of normal ARML. But forgetting what the keys are for is a sign of dementia.
Common memory loss and forgetfulness problems
Healthy people can experience memory loss and forgetfulness at any age.
There are six memory problems that are considered normal:
- Misattribution. Misattribution occurs when you accurately remember only part of something and forget a detail like the time, place or person involved.
- Suggestibility. This is similar to misattribution. Suggestibility happens when your memory of something is altered by false information from another person or source.
- Transience. This is the tendency to forget facts or events over time.
- Absentmindedness. This type of forgetfulness happens when you don’t pay close enough attention.
- Blocking. Blocking is the temporary inability to recall a memory.
- Bias. Your personal experiences, beliefs, knowledge and mood affect your memories and perceptions when they’re being encoded in your brain. This means that when you retrieve a memory, your mood and other biases at that moment can influence what information you actually recall.
Causes of memory loss and forgetfulness
There are many treatable causes of minor, temporary memory loss and forgetfulness. Your overall health and environment are just a few. When you take steps to assess and treat these causes, you might find that you regain your memory.
Here are several common factors that can affect your memory:
- Lack of sleep.
- Stress and anxiety.
- Thyroid problems.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Alcohol abuse.
Preventing memory loss and forgetfulness
The same strategies that contribute to greater health and well-being also help you develop a strong mind and memory. By taking steps to prevent memory loss and forgetfulness, you’ll improve other aspects of your life as well.
Here are steps you can take to prevent memory loss and forgetfulness:
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a balanced diet.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Build a strong support network.
- Keep learning.
Let us help
If you still have concerns about your memory, it might be time to seek professional help. Call the Parkview Behavioral Health HelpLine at 260-471-9440 or 800-284-8439, anytime 24 hours a day. Our dedicated assessment specialists are available to guide you to the appropriate level of care – or resources – for your situation.