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Memory loss: When to seek help

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By Dr. Neha Shah , Psychiatry

Forgetfulness is fairly common that can happen with anyone, once in a while. Your ability to remember things might considerably decrease as you grow old. Instances would include misplacing your car keys or some important paperwork. However, if a person suffers from the following symptoms on a regular basis, it is advisable to take medical attention:

  1. Asks the same question constantly along with frequently losing directions while walking or driving around a familiar place.
  2. Frequently mixes up or confuses between words and takes a long time to remember simple words while speaking.
  3. Undergoes sudden mood swings and misplaces items frequently.
  4. Experiences significant difficulties while remembering what he/she did just a few while back.

These symptoms might hamper the daily routine of the individual. More often than not, these symptoms (which are collectively called dementia and impair the normal thinking and reasoning of the individual) occur due to serious medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease (a degenerative disorder that affects memory and other cognitive abilities) and vascular dementia (a type of dementia resulting from hindered blood supply to one’s brain) which destroy the normal functions of the brain and become considerably worse as time progresses.

Loss of memory can also occur as a side effect of certain medications, result of excessive alcohol abuse for a prolonged period of time, head injuries, depression or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland).

When to seek help?

To come to terms with the disease can be difficult for the concerned person and the family members but a timely diagnosis can help you to get rid of the symptoms completely. The treatment will include the regulation of the symptoms with medications along with providing sufficient information to the patient and the family members about dementia.

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