Understanding Temporary Memory Loss After a Traumatic Accident

We see it happen all the time on television and in the movies. You think that it wouldn’t happen to you. But the next thing you know, you’re waking up in an emergency room in Los Angeles with tubes all around you, unable to remember your name, your address, or your emergency contact person. Traumatic brain injury is scary because you lose yourself and for what could be the first time in your life, you are not anchored to anything. You’re like a floating matter that hardly remembers how to function.

If there is an accident that causes you to have brain injury, call a brain injury lawyer. This lawyer will help you map out what has happened and what steps need to be taken post-accident. Focusing on legal matters may be stressful, but it helps a person take care of themselves by understanding their rights and going after those who are answerable for what has happened.

Three Types of Memory Loss

Girl experiencing pain in the head at a doctor's office

The three types of memory loss often happen to people after a traumatic accident. The most common is the post-traumatic amnesia, wherein the person can’t remember the events immediately after the traumatic incident occurs. Those who suffer from this may be unable to provide their name, contact information, address. They cannot relay what has happened to them.

The second one is called anterograde amnesia. It is the loss of the ability to form new memories after a traumatic event. It can happen immediately after an accident, or it can develop several hours after the traumatic incident.

Lastly, retrograde amnesia is the inability to remember events before a traumatic head injury. This happens when there is damage to the frontal or anterior temporal regions. Sufferers can eventually regain these memories. But because of psychological repression of unpleasant memories, the events of the traumatic incident may never fully be remembered.

According to studies, there are less than 3% of traumatic head injury cases that suffer no memory loss at all. Post-traumatic amnesia lasts for less than an hour in 6% of the cases, while 7% of those surveyed experienced memory loss for an hour to a day. There’s about 16% who lose their memory between one day and a week, 23% between a week and a month, and a whopping 45% experienced memory loss for more than a month.

Regaining Memory

Resolving a traumatic brain injury isn’t easy. Aside from dealing with the fact that you are unable to remember anything about yourself, there’s also the trust issues that you need to build back. Whom can you trust if you don’t remember your partner, parents, siblings, and friends? How will you work if you can’t function properly? Who will take care of the finances?

Man experiencing head pains

While doctors can prescribe certain medications to help with the temporary memory loss, the best way to overcome it is to train your brain to remember things once more. Simple activities such as doing a grocery list, making a checklist of everything, building a memory station at home (where you can live your phone, keys, and wallet), and having a pillbox for your medicines will train your brain to function normally again.

When trying to regain memory, take it slow, and don’t force yourself if you aren’t comfortable about an activity. You can try remembering the people in your life first by looking at pictures and reading emails and text messages. Once you have someone you can trust by your side, you’ll be readier to do brain activities.

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