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What causes amnesia?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

The cause of amnesia depends on which type of amnesia a person suffers. A person can suffer minor, temporary amnesia from a car accident or other common head injury. This type of amnesia rarely lasts long or causes serious problems. More serious neurological amnesia is the result of brain damage or severe injury, which can result from tumors, diseases like Alzheimer's, oxygen deprivation to the brain, stroke, or brain inflammation. Amnesia can also be the result of alcoholism or a reaction to certain drugs. Dissociative amnesia, also called psychogenic amnesia, is rare but usually follows an emotional trauma. Dissociative amnesia is not connected to any neurological or physical injury and is usually limited to memory surrounding a particularly traumatic event or period of life.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.