What is Amnesia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

Some people forget the information and details about a certain event that has happened to them in their lives. It doesn’t happen often but it does happen on rare occasions. Today, we’ll discuss what is amnesia; its symptoms, causes, types, and treatment.

What is Amnesia? 

Amnesia is a state in which a person doesn’t recall or access the information stored in one’s memory. It’s a very rare mental health condition, despite being a famous theme of many Hollywood movies. However, if you forget about things in your routine life, then it’s not amnesia. Amnesia is when you lose a large chunk of memory in the long term because of psychological trauma, brain injury, or illness.

When a person accesses the information in the brain about a certain event, it comprises various complex processes in the brain. Researchers and scientists don’t know what happens in the brain when a person does something to one’s memory and accesses the stored information in the brain.

People with the amnesiac condition often lose memories of important facts that they have learned in life, key events and people in life, and forget about the milestones. Amnesiac people have a lucid sense of themselves, and they have got a complete memory up to a certain point in time in some cases, but they have got difficulty remembering and accessing it. In some instances, they lose memory from before the main point, and their memory is patchy and they lose the memory of certain events in life.

Some amnesiac people find it difficult to imagine and visualize the future. It is because the human brain constructs future scenarios based on the memories and experiences of the past.

Symptoms of Amnesia

The main sign of amnesia is losing memory and the incapability of the person to develop new memories. Some of the main symptoms of amnesia are as follows;

  • Confabulation, it’s when your brain creates false memories to fill out the gap in memories
  • The incapability of the person to recognize faces and locations
  • Confusions
  • Impairing your capabilities of learning new information
  • Trouble recalling and remembering things and specific details about people, places, facts, and things in life

Your mind and body would retain the motor skill like your capability to talk (speak various languages) and walk.

Types of Amnesia 

Amnesia has various types and every type has got different features and they can overlap. The person could have more than one type of amnesia condition, and it could be long-lasting and temporary. Some of the main types of amnesia are as follows;

Anterograde Amnesia

It’s a type of amnesiac condition when a person doesn’t access or remember the new information. Usually, it results from brain trauma like a blow in the head causing brain damage. The person would have a complete memory before the time of the injury.

Retrograde Amnesia

It’s a type when a person can’t remember the information before the occurrence of the traumatic event, but the person could recall the information after the traumatic event. Rarely, do anterograde and retrograde amnesia impact the person at the same time.

Transient Global Amnesia

It’s when a person loses all of his memory temporarily, and he would experience difficulty in developing new memories in severe cases. It is a rare condition and it happens among elderly people that are experiencing blood vascular disease.

Traumatic Amnesia

It’s a type when a person loses memory after a strong blow on the head like a car accident. The person would go into a coma state and lose consciousness briefly. It is temporary amnesia, but the duration relies on the severity of the injury. It suggests that the person has a concussion.

Dissociative or Fugue Amnesia

When a person loses memory of his both current and past identity, he wakes up and doesn’t know where he is and what is going on. It happens after a traumatic event. However, the memory usually comes back in the next few minutes, hours, and days and the memory of the triggering event would never come back. But the triggering points of the memory would never come back.

Posthypnotic Amnesia

The person doesn’t remember what has happened while remaining in the state of hypnosis.

Source Amnesia

The person could recall a certain type of information but he doesn’t how he got there.

Alcohol-Induced Amnesia

It also goes by the name of the blackout, when heavy consumption of alcohol causes gaps in the memory.


When a person doesn’t remember or recall faces, people can either be born with them or acquire them later.

Infantile Amnesia

It’s when the memory of the child is developing, and he doesn’t remember the events of his childhood.

Causes of Amnesia 

Any type of head injury that impacts your brain could interfere with your memory. The function of memory is to engage with different parts of the brain simultaneously. However, the damage to the structure of the brain creates a limbic system like the thalamus and hippocampus, and it results in the form of amnesia. The limbic system plays a significant role in controlling a person’s memories and emotions.

Medical Causes

Some of the main medical causes that happen after the head and brain injury are as follows;

  • Anesthesia and surgery could make a person to lose memory right before or after the procedure
  • Head injuries that result in the form of losing memory temporarily
  • Seizure disorders
  • Tumor in the brain impacts the brain relevant the memory
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage, bleeding in the area between the brain and the skull
  • Medicines like insomnia drug Ambien impacts the memory of the brain
  • Oxygen deprivation resulting from carbon monoxide poisoning, respiratory distress, and heart attack
  • Sickness could cause brain inflammation or encephalitis, and it comprises of autoimmune reaction or viral or bacterial infection
  • Stroke
  • Deficiency of vitamin B1 leads to the progressive memory loss

Treatment of Amnesia 

Amnesia can get better without any treatment in many cases. If the underlying condition is there, then the person needs proper treatment. Some of the main treatment plans are as follows;


CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) could be effective for people with amnesia. Hypnosis also helps people to remember their forgotten memories. Therapeutic treatment helps you to retrieve memories and deal with psychological issues that are causing amnesia.  


Meditation and other mindfulness exercises help your mind to become relaxed and calm. When your mind is calm and relaxed, then you can retrieve the forgotten memories.

Family and support networks play an important role in getting your memories back. Old photos, music, and the smell of things could bring back the memories.

Conclusion: What is Amnesia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is amnesia; its symptoms, causes, types, and treatment; we have realized that amnesia is rare but it could happen to anyone. It’s better if you follow the preventive measures and eat a healthy diet to avoid this condition.