Short-Term Memory Loss: What You Need to Know
“I suffer from short-term memory loss. It runs in
my family… At least I think it does…
Where are they?”
–Dory, Finding Nemo
Short-term memory stores a small amount of information that someone needs temporarily. It is also labeled as primary or active memory, often including events that spans from thirty seconds to several days.
The brain’s ability to store short-term items is limited due to the fact that short-term memories take lesser amounts of time to recall compared to long-term ones.
Long-term memory is pretty self-explanatory, given its name: it holds on to memories for a long time. Aside from having an obviously larger capacity, it also contains facts and personal memories.
According to an article on MedicineNet.com, memory loss is “an abnormal degree of forgetfulness and/or inability to recall past events.” At times, it is referred to as amnesia. It can become a permanent condition that one has to endure over time. Contrary to how it is being portrayed in television shows and movies, it isn’t the usual culprit behind the loss of self-identity. Instead, people who suffer from the condition still know who they are despite struggling with short-term memory.
Symptoms of short-term memory loss:
- cognitive decline
- difficulty in finding and mixing words
Have you ever tried forgetting what you’ve just read? Do you have trouble with learning new things and concepts? Were there times when you didn’t remember the reason why you’ve entered a particular room? If you’ve said “yes” to all three situations, you may be dealing with a case of short-term memory loss.
These signs are labeled as “mild forgetfulness,” which is considered to be normal. However, if you start experiencing personality changes, having trouble keeping up with daily routines, and moments of repeatedly asking the same questions, chances are, your short-term memory loss may be more serious than you think.
What are some of the causes of short-term memory loss?
- Head Trauma
- Psychiatric Disorders
- Oxygen Deprivation
- Brain Tumor
- Severe Psychological Trauma
In addition, sleep apnea and nutritional deficiency have been considered as culprits behind the condition. There may be a possibility that your short-term memory loss may develop into something more serious, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Fortunately though, you can improve short-term memory in various ways. Start by developing healthy habits for your brain. It may not be an instant remedy, but it’ll pay off in the long run. Begin with getting proper sleep regularly. Cut back on stress by meditating. It will help condition your brain to zoom in on one thing at a time. Aside from lowering stress levels, meditation has also been proven to enhance memory, learning ability, and mood. You may also want to start incorporating brain-healthy foods (such as kale, berries, and walnuts) into your diet.
Here are a few tips to further shield yourself from short-term memory loss:
- Try to avoid distractions as much as possible.
- Fully concentrate on things you’re doing now instead of fussing about your tasks tomorrow.
- You can always break information down into small chunks to make things a little less complicated.
- If you feel the need to say things out loud to remember them, feel free to do so.
- Write things down if you want to. The required concentration in jotting things on paper helps you remember better compared to typing information into electronic devices.