What Is Amnesia?

What is amnesia and how do you get it? This article gives you all the answers.

Everyone has heard of amnesia on exciting daytime drama television, but is there really such a thing? How do you get amnesia?

Amnesia is the loss of memory. This condition may result from health problems or events in life, such as an accident. It may result from damage to the brain from injuries, including head injury, stroke, or a result of disease, such as alcohol, or chronic drug abuse or psychological trauma or stress.

Most often amnesia is caused by a head injury called a concussion. A concussion is defined as a temporary loss of consciousness due to head trauma. Following a concussion people feel dazed. In cases of severe concussion, people may suffer seizures, but this is not very common. The amnesia associated with concussions is such that the victim only forgets what happened to them just prior to the head trauma. Generally, the amnesia lasts only seconds to minutes, but in cases of severe trauma, the amnesia may involve weeks to months of the victim not remembering anything. This can be very disconcerting for the person. The amnesia gradually gets resolved from more distant to more recent memories. Sometimes small bits and pieces will remain forgotten or foggy. Amnesia in no way consists of a person going through life a mere ghost of a person, not knowing who they are or where they come from or any family members. For the most part, amnesia is always temporary and very limited.

In some cases, the victim of head trauma may become hysterical. This is what we call hysterical posttraumatic amnesia. This in an uncommon thing. This particular condition is characterized by abnormalities of behavior, including disorganized recounting of events, that cannot be recalled later, such as, forgetting one's own name, and bizarre mood swings. The only good thing about this is that it usually resolves quickly and leaves no permanent loss.

After a blow to the head, if there is prolonged unconsciousness and/or vomiting, a concussion should be suspected and the person should seek immediate medical attention. Do not drive if you suspect you have a concussion.

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