Memory Loss in Traumatic Brain Injury

Memory Loss in Traumatic Brain Injury

Memory loss is common with traumatic brain injuries. For example, losing your train of thought, not knowing where you put an item or forgetting names can make day-to-day living harder. Memory loss happens because the parts of the brain that involve memory are damaged. It is often necessary to implement strategies to overcome memory problems. These help with managing the deficits and compensating for them after a traumatic injury. Let’s take a look at the different types of memory loss, how to compensate for them and medication that may help.

Traumatic Brain Injury and Memory Loss

Traumatic brain injury damages both long-term and short-term memory. Long-term memory involves things you saw, experienced or learned in the past. Short-term memory, on the other hand, involves recent happenings and daily interactions as well as school work. Generally, short-term memory is affected more frequently by a TBI. Other short-term memory issues include:

  • Not knowing what day it is
  • Not remembering where you placed an object such as your keys
  • Getting lost even though you learned the route the day before
  • Seeing a movie or reading a book and forgetting what you read or saw
  • Forgetting conversation details
  • Asking the same thing repeatedly because you forget the answer

Post-Traumatic Amnesia

Many people with injury to the brain may not recall the accident. This means the brain has not stored the memory of the incident. Afterward, the brain may not store other recent memories. This lack of memory from the time the brain was injured is called post-traumatic amnesia. This type of memory loss can persist for weeks or months. The duration depends on the injury severity.

Remembering to Perform a Task

The memory of tasks that need to be done in the future is often lost. This means tasks that are normally performed by that person or scheduled for the future. When prospective memory is lost, the individual may not remember to return a rented item, pay a bill or take their medication. Other tasks include:

  • Not picking children up after school
  • Forgetting birthdays
  • Not remembering work tasks that need to be done
  • Forgetting an appointment

What Affects Memory Problems

Certain factors can worsen memory loss. These include:

  • Stress
  • Medication
  • Lack of sleep
  • Illness
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Reminders Are Useful Tools

Using reminders is one way to compensate for memory loss. Some examples are:

  • Use a photo album of past events to help you remember names and faces.
  • Keep a daily register of activities.
  • Use a calendar or journal instead of a piece of paper or sticky notes.
  • Write down important information such as telephone numbers. Put it in your wallet or purse.
  • Place labels on drawers or cupboards, so you can find things easily.
  • Keep a list of what you need to take with you when you leave the house.
  • Write down task steps. They’ll be available when you need them.
  • Keep a notepad and pen next to the phone. Carry it with you if you use a cell phone.
  • Use a whiteboard to list everything you need to do.
  • Use a key chain that attaches to your belt. You’ll have your keys when you need them.
  • Put the names and telephone numbers of doctors and hospitals in a prominent place.
  • Only do one thing at a time.
  • Load a pill organizer every day, or have someone do it for you.
  • Choose appliances that have an automatic shut-off feature.
  • Keep to a routine.
  • Use automatic payments for bills.
  • Use a timer to turn indoor and outdoor lights on and off.
  • Have a family member or neighbor check on you as frequently as possible.

Medication for Memory Loss

Some medications are available to improve memory in traumatic brain injured patients. One drug, called rivastigmine, helps with both long- and short-term memory loss. Verbal memory test scores and attention improve most. It works best on more severe forms of TBI. Other treatments are commonly used.

Compensation for Brain Injuries

Brain trauma can cause memory problems that change the way things are done daily. It can be temporary or last indefinitely. The financial cost of dealing with memory loss can be steep. If the traumatic brain injury was the result of someone else’s negligence, the cost can be recovered. An injury lawyer can work to obtain the compensation that is needed.

Sacramento Brain Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento traumatic brain injury lawyer. The effects of a brain injury can change someone’s life in dramatic ways. The bottom line is that the injured person should not have to bear the financial burden for this loss. Call me for free and friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 in the Sacramento area. You can also reach me on my toll-free line at (800) 404-5400 or online.

I’ve helped many Sacramento residents who suffered damages in car accidents and wrongful deaths.

If you would like to know about my practice, go to the following pages:

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