It can be hard to spot the difference between normal memory problems that come with aging and those associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. But what if it’s neither of these options? If you or a family member are demonstrating memory loss but you’ve ruled out Alzheimer’s, there may be other causes that need treating.
Let’s look at some other causes of memory loss when you know it’s not Alzheimer’s Disease.
Side effects of medications
Memory loss is a potential side effect of certain medications. Check the packaging for reported side effects to see if this might be the case. If it is, see your doctor about changing to a different type of medication.
Drug or alcohol abuse
Abusing drugs and/or alcohol takes its toll on the body throughout your life. The brain is one of the areas that’s affected badly because of their neurotoxic effects. Brain cells and connections between neurons can be damaged, causing effects to both short-term and long-term memory. Many drugs also lead to an increased chance of seizures, which can contribute to brain damage.
If you experience a severe head trauma or suffer from repeated head injuries throughout your life, then memory loss may be a consequence. This can be temporary after an injury or more long-lasting. If you’re experiencing memory problems after a head injury, see your doctor immediately to assess the health of your brain. Similarly, if you’ve taken part in a contact sport throughout your life, it is worth having regular check-ups to assess the effects of this.
A stroke is the result of blood supply being cut off to the brain. If it is not caught quickly, it can be fatal. Recovering patients commonly experience memory problems as a result of injury to the brain, which can be permanent. Strokes are also a cause of vascular dementia.
Parkinson’s Disease is another common type of dementia. The symptoms typically cause both the brain and the body to slow down. Effects on the brain can make it difficult to recall information and form thoughts and ideas.
Depression is a common condition among seniors, especially those who live alone. And a lesser-known side effect of depression is memory impairment. This is thought to be partially caused by a loss in concentration. Depression also negatively skews thoughts and memories, so a depressed person is more likely to focus on negative memories and forget more positive ones.