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Amnesia: From forgetting days to losing a lifetime

Memory loss is difficult enough when it's simple things from day to day. When memory loss is more than forgetting where you put your keys or not remembering you had an appointment, it becomes hard to live your life normally. In some cases involving head trauma, individuals lose their ability to remember who they are or lose entire years of their lives.

Amnesia is a kind of memory loss in which you could lose a few minutes to a lifetime of memories after an injury. Fortunately, long-term memories tend to return as the head injury heals. Short-term memories, like those that occurred just moments before an accident, may never return at all.

People with head injuries may suffer from retrograde amnesia. When you can't remember who you are, the last year of your life or even the last week upon waking up following a crash or other traumatic event, then it's likely you have this condition.

The brain works by storing and retrieving information. Brain injuries can impair storage or retrieval. For example, in some cases, you may not be able to store any new information. That's short-term memory loss. In other cases, you may not be able to remember something that just occurred, like a news report, but can recall it after several minutes of thinking. In that case, your ability to record the memory is still there, but the ability to recall it is hindered.

It's hard to manage any kind of memory loss. If you suffer with it as a result of a collision, it's important to look into ways you can be compensated. Compensation makes a difference in your care and the treatments to which you have access.

Source: TBI Guide, "Memory," accessed Oct. 24, 2017

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