What is amnesia?

You probably learned about amnesia by seeing it play out in a movie or a soap opera. A character suddenly cannot remember who he or she is and where he or she came from.

Sometimes the loss of memory is caused by a head injury and other times it is spurred by a traumatic event.

In real life, however, the condition also can be caused by prescription drugs.

Amnesia refers to memory loss, either temporarily or permanently. Amnesia seldom causes total memory loss, but a person suffering from amnesia may have difficulty remembering certain experiences and information. Losing memories from before the amnesia is called retrograde amnesia. Someone with amnesia who finds it difficult to learn and create new memories has anterograde amnesia. Amnesia may last just a few minutes or a few hours, and it may involve only recent memories or more long-term memories.

Continue Learning about Amnesia

Is amnesia a common condition?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Amnesia is not a common condition. Amnesia most often results from damage to the brain in the areas ...
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What is anterograde amnesia?
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Someone who is suffering from anterograde amnesia is unable to recall incidents that occur after the...
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How does amnesia affect the body?
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Amnesia usually has no long-term affects on the body, but it may wreak havoc on the personal and soc...
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What is dissociative amnesia?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Dissociative amnesia is a disorder that occurs when a person who has suffered a trauma, usually in c...
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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.