Memory Loss and Confusion

Head | Neurology | Memory Loss and Confusion (Symptom)


Memory loss can be partial or total, and it is normal when it comes with aging. Sudden memory loss is usually a result of brain trauma and it may be permanent or temporary. When it is caused by medical conditions such as Alzheimers, the memory loss is gradual and tends to be permanent.

Symptoms of memory loss vary from person to person, but can include: forgetting dates and names; beginning a task but then forgetting the purpose of it; getting lost easily; repeating things over and over again, sometimes in the same conversation; and having difficulties performing familiar tasks such as driving or baking. They usually occur gradually and may vary in intensity depending on the cause of the condition. Confusion or decreased alertness may be the first symptom of memory loss and also of serious illness, particularly in older adults.


Brain trauma is not the only factor that can cause sudden memory loss. It may appear as a side effect of statin drugs that are used as treatment for those who have hypercholesterolemia. Major causes of sudden loss of memory are strokes. Other causes are long lasting and recurrent illnesses such as meningitis or epilepsy. Either temporary or permanent memory loss can also result from chemical imbalances, exposure to toxic substances, allergies, vitamin deficiencies (such as those caused by alcoholism), or extreme mental illness.