Memory loss can be a distressing and surreal experience. This is, however, a natural response to a brain injury, whether the damage is psychological or physical. Trauma of any kind can directly affect your memory, and can be a survival defence to protect your brain from further damage, or it can be a direct and permanent result of a severe blow.
The important thing is to understand your memory loss, so you can deal with the challenges it presents. For some, it may be possible to regain any forgotten memories, once youâ€™ve healed and faced the trauma of your accident.
Brain damage can easily be caused by a physical, severe head injury. Your ability to process information, and store it effectively, can mean that your memory circuit goes haywire. Severe injuries are often a result of a traumatic experience, and this can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This condition often temporarily deletes memories of the accident, to help the victim cope with their injury.
Those who suffer from PTSD often experience unwanted thoughts and flashbacks from the event, and it can be an extremely challenging condition to cope with. Victims can experience horrifying nightmares and feelings of grief-stricken depression. Often, ordinary things can trigger flashbacks, if itâ€™s even slightly related to the incident.
Losing your memory after a traumatic event is a psychological defence mechanism. Emotionally traumatic events can lead to dissociative amnesia, which allows you to temporarily forget troubling incidents. Usually, memory loss will last until the victim is ready to cope with the event, but this may never happen.
Recovering From Traumatic Memory Loss
Thereâ€™s no shelf-life for recovering from memory loss; sometimes the damage is permanent. However, if your memory loss means that youâ€™re having trouble with functioning normally; causing anxiety, depression, fear, nightmares, flashbacks, emotional numbness, alcohol or drug dependency; or youâ€™re avoiding things that remind you of your traumatic experience, you will need to seek help.
A therapist can help you cope with traumatic memory loss and hopefully begin the healing process. Recent studies speculate that exposure to social situations and a highly stimulating environment can help support the memory system. On the other hand, staying in the safety of the home (which many victims of brain injury prefer) does very little for neurological impairment.
If your inability to retain and process information is completely life-changing, ask those close to you to take precautions against any risky behaviour. Sometimes, this may be a written message by the door, so you remember to take your keys with you when you leave the house. Although being independent is important, donâ€™t forget your support networks.
Where memory loss is present, you may notice those around you getting upset; especially if you donâ€™t recognise them or you donâ€™t recall important events. Try to stay positive and hope that, with time, everything will come back to you.
Memory loss through serious brain injury is now getting the recognition and attention it deserves. Barlow Robbins appreciate this and have a brain injury department who review the aspects of an injury, ensuing the claimant receives the right health and financial support. Visit their brain page here.