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Photo of Joshua Nielsen
Photo of Joshua Nielsen

How can a brain injury create memory problems?

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2022 | personal injury

Some people manifest physical symptoms after sustaining a brain injury. They can suffer vomiting, loss of balance or seizures or convulsions. However, your experience with a head injury may be different. You do not have physical issues, but you do suffer problems with your memory.

Movies and television often depict amnesia as losing almost all memory of the past. As MSKTC explains, in real life a traumatic brain injury usually affects the ability to form new memories.

Failure to remember current details

Your long-term memory consists of what you have learned or done over the course of your life. By contrast, your short-term memory is when you recall what has happened recently or events that occur in everyday life. Damage to your short-term memory can cause you to forget some or all of the following:

  • Where you put ordinary household items
  • The details of a recent conversation
  • What you recently said to someone
  • The current time or the day of the week

This kind of memory loss can make you feel confused. You might also experience frustration if someone mentions you are repeating information you have already given a short time ago.

Failure to recall prospective memory

Another form of memory loss happens when you fail to remember your plans to do something else. When you realize you need to run an errand, you typically form a memory that you recall later on to carry out the errand. However, a brain injury can make it hard to form these kinds of memories.

As a result, you may forget to go shopping, pick up items at a store, or perform ordinary household chores. You could make an appointment but forget all about it later on. An important event like the birthday of a friend or family member might also slip your mind.

Certain strategies may improve memory

Given that memory problems can damage your quality of life, seeking medical attention may be crucial. Doctors may recommend strategies to help boost your memory retention, such as keeping a to-do list, rehearsing key information, or asking people to repeat sentences to you. Your friends and family could also offer support in this endeavor.