Amnesia is memory loss that may be caused by a head injury or stroke, substance use disorder, or a severe emotional event, such as combat or a car crash. Depending upon the cause, amnesia may be temporary or it may be a permanent condition.
Amnesia can involve complete loss of memory of one or more of the following:
Events or circumstances
A specific period of time
An entire lifetime
The cause determines whether the condition comes on slowly or suddenly. Memory problems that come on gradually may be a part of ongoing mental decline (dementia). Total global amnesia is a type of unexplained amnesia that begins suddenly.
Treatment options and results of treatment of amnesia depend on the cause of lost memory.
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Myron F. Weiner MD - Psychiatry, Neurology