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Dr. Vikas
Dr. Vikas, Psychiatrist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2231
Experience:  MBBS ; M.D Psychiatry, MS. Health Informatics
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What can cause a sudden onset of severe to moderate short-term memory loss

Customer Question

I am 23 am suffering from moderate to severe short term memory loss. I have been forced to take a leave of absence from work and am concerned, however, I do not know where to seek help or what exactly to seek help for. There are know apparent causes for my memory loss (i.e. a head injury). An acquaintance in a college course mentioned A.D.D. as a possibility. I had symptoms of A.D.D. as a child and cope with some attention problems as an adult, but I do not categorize this level of memory-loss with those issues. Do you have any suggestions about who I might seek for help, what, if any, conditions I could research, and what, if any, other symptoms I should watch for?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Vikas replied 7 years ago.
Hello Jessica,

Could you please explain, what exactly do you mean by short term memory loss?
I mean what are the symptoms you are having, please explain in detail!

Are you able to recall previously learned knowledge, or past events?

Can you learn and recall new information?

How all this is affecting your daily life?

What about your attention and concentration power?

Any symptoms of sadness, lethargy, being unable to enjoy previously enjoyable activities?

Any history of psychiatric or medical illness in the family?

What about alcohol or any other substance of abuse , are you taking them?

When did you stopped taking xanax or any other benzodiazepines?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Learned knowledge or past events?
I have trouble remembering tasks that should be done atmy place of work, although I have worked there for five years and my responsibilities have not changed. I have found that I can not recall conversations with my husband and other people I talk to on a regular basis. I keep a conversation log to keep track of the important conversations, but I am having trouble keeping up with that as of the past month.
New Information?
I am having trouble retaining the new information that I am learning in my college classes. As I stated already, I cannot recall conversations, both lenghty and short.
Daily Life?
I am very slow to accomplish tasks; I can start a task and move away to retrieve something I need to complete it and completely forget about the thing I need and the task. This happens 90% of the time. It was most apparent at work where I must do a series of tasks in one shift while helping customers.Now, at home, I leave a trail of unfinished tasks and on shopping trips I forget many to get many products, despite my lists, and I leave my personal items-wallet, purse, keys, planner- in the stores frequently. My bills have gotten behind and I feel I am not in touch or in control of my mind and life any more. I am filing for a leave of absence at work because I have not been able to remember to go to work. I have been consecutively late to work and I have been going in on the wrong days, despite calendars, printed schedule sheets, and daily notes in my planner.
Attention and Concentration?
I have had attention problems in the past, but had learned to cope as well as possible and I could acheive tasks and stay organized with alot of effort and structure. My efforts are failing me now and I feel a bit helpless and very much overwhelmed when I attempt to accomplish tasks.
Sadness, lethargy, apathy?
I have not felt marked sadness. I am upset about the way I am loosing control but I have not felt any marked sadness or lethargy. I do have difficulty enjoying life because I must stay on task at all times to keep track of myself. I feel I cannot relax for fear of loosing hours of the day and forgeting about important tasks.
Family history?
My father was bipolar. My grandmother (maternal) has severe social-anxiety and panic-attacks. My mother has major memory loss of events in my childhood and in her life. My paternal grandmother was obsessed with weight gain and diet, and her religious beliefs.
I do not drink, I recently (within 12 months) quit smoking, but other do not use any other drugs.
The last time I took Xanax was in the fall of last year (2008). I have a bottle from my last visit with a psychiatrist over two years ago. I use them I get anxiety sickness (feels like the flu with a stomach bug), but I started deep relaxation breathing last fall and it has been very effective. I have had anxiety sickness once or twice since then, which is very good progress for me.
I have not taken any other psychiatric medication since 2005.

Thanks for following up, I hope this information is helpful.
I have out grown my fifteen dollars.
Expert:  Dr. Vikas replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for the detailed information Jessica and apologies for the delay.

To be honest, you have already ruled out some of the major causes which could lead to problems as of yours, and it is difficult for me to give a possible cause for you problems without having access to a proper neurological and mental status examination.

I agree that some of the symptoms you have reported are also reported by patient of adult ADHD such as long-standing problems with distractibility, forgetfulness, and completing mundane tasks. But you have these symptoms of your's since last one month and previously everything was all right!

Somewhat similar symptoms are reported by patients of depression also but I doubt it could be the cause.You are not taking Benozdiazepines ory abusing any substance so we can rule out memory impairment because of them also.

In my view, in your case Amnestic disorder should also be ruled out. The essential feature of this disorder is the acquired impaired ability to learn and recall new information, or the inability to recall previously learned past knowledge or past event. Also the impairment should be severe enough to create problems in the personal , social or occupational functioning. It could be transient or chronic, sudden in onset or develop gradually.

There are several causes such as systemic medical illness, primarily cerebral disease, substance use disorder, medication adverse effects such as that caused by xanax or any other benzodiazepines and require a thorough clinical history, physical and laboratory examination.

Although it is true that at present, no particular cause is evident enough from what you have written but I guess, in your case, a detailed neurological and psychiatric examination could be useful. You can consult with a psychiatrist who may refer you to a neurologist if he think so.

Please feel free to ask any follow up question.

Dr. Vikas and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for you honesty and help.
I am currently looking for a psychiatrist for help and your information gives me somewhere to start. I was hoping to avoid neurological testing but it seems to be the logical route to take.
Thank you again.
Sincerely, XXXXX
Expert:  Dr. Vikas replied 7 years ago.
You are most welcome Jessica. Thanks for coming to just answer. I would appreciate it very much, if you could kindly let me know about the evaluation result, once you have get it done.

I wish you a very early and speedy recovery.

Kindest Regards

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