Did you forget where you put your keys again?
Maybe you can’t remember what you ate for dinner yesterday.
Memory loss is a familiar problem for many people. You might think that poor memory is just a product of getting older.
For some people this is the case. For many, bad memory is the sign of other problems.
It’s best to consider these common reasons for bad memory before you write your memory loss off as a sign of old age.
It doesn’t matter how old you are. These factors play a role in everyone’s ability to remember things.
Depression is a leading cause of memory problems. When you get depressed, it’s difficult to concentrate.
Lapses in concentration prevent your brain from recalling experiences and can even hurt you ability to store them in the first place.
An analysis of scholarship on depression and memory loss was published in the Psychological Bulletin.
Researchers stated “depression is linked to particular aspects of memory” and that “the linkage is found in particular subsets of depressed individuals.”
Not all depressed people experience memory loss, but studying your own depression may still be one of the self-assessment tools you can use to determine if it is a root cause.
2. Emotional Problems
Emotional issues, particularly the inability to express true emotions and the tendency to hide feelings out of fear, shame, or feelings of pride can result in memory loss and poor recall ability.
People who are experiencing these emotional problems frequently lose touch with their feelings and thoughts.
One recent analysis determined that memory and emotion are almost inexplicably linked.
Scientists understand the link between a myriad of emotional problems, but more research is needed to uncover the true mental processes that drive the link.
Recreational drugs and illegal substances can alter cognitive processes and disrupt chemical and neurological pathways that promote proper memory retention.
Many drugs effect the hippocampus—the area of the brain that controls cognitive function. Numerous studies on recreational drug use have declared drugs cognitive impairers.
MDMA or “Exstasy” is one of the worst destroyers of memory.
Current studies have found that MDMA dustups serotonin neurotransmission, altering pre-synaptic serotonin neurons. Researchers claim a strong link between neurons altered by MDMA and memory impairment.
4. Excessive Alcohol Intake
Moderate alcohol consumption does not hurt your memory.
But high levels of intake over a short period of time might be a problem.
Scientists have used the rodent model to determine that alcohol in excessive levels causes neurodegeneration in the hippocampus.
Some studies argue that these findings don’t correlate to humans. Research is unclear on the long term effect of alcohol.
What is clear is that alcohol can impact the ability to form memories. Consider this recent article from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. This is what you experience if you have ever had a drinking “blackout.”
5. Thiamine Deficiency
Thiamine is a nutrient that metabolizes food and converts it into energy. It’s one of the B-Vitamins.
In addition to regulating the transfer of food to energy, it also maintains normal function of the central nervous system.
Analysis published in Behavioral Brain Research determined that, in the rat model, low levels of thiamine produce cognitive impairment and memory deficits.
If you are experiencing memory problems, be sure to get enough B-vitamins and thiamine.
6. Lack of Sleep
Lack of sleep might be one of the leading contributors to memory loss.
While researchers don’t completely understand the process of sleep, psychologists and scientists writing for the Annual Review of Psychology have had a breakthrough in sleep research.
They argue that many studies point to the sleep process as a vital part of memory encoding, consolidation, and overall memory creation. Without sleep, none of these processes can happen and memory loss is the result.