Memory problems occur when damage to certain parts of the brain prevents or reduces the ability to store memories. Memory impairments also impact cognitive abilities and social behaviors, affecting language, problem-solving abilities, and the ability to perform simple tasks. They can range from mild to severe and from gradual to immediate.

Trauma, stroke, and other conditions, such as an infection or a reaction to medication, can lead to dementia and other memory problems. Dementia affects people of all ages, but is more commonly seen in older people.

Types of memory disorders include:

Alzheimer’s disease :

The most common dementia is caused by damage to nerves in the brain that have become entangled, forming plaques and destroying their connections to other nerves. The symptoms of this disease gradually deteriorate.

Vascular dementia:

Reduced or blocked blood flow damages brain tissue. It is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia with Lewy bodies:

When brain tissue breaks down, abnormal deposits of proteins called Lewy bodies form, causing the symptoms of dementia.

Frontotemporal dementia:

A disease that attacks nerve cells located in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. The death of these cells causes the lobes to shrink.

Mild cognitive impairment:

You or your family may notice changes or decline in your memory, language, thinking, or judgments, but this does not interfere with your usual activities.

Mixed dementia:

A combination of dementia symptoms caused by Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

Symptoms of memory disorders.

Memory impairment and dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions usually occur in stages as the disease progresses. A sudden onset of symptoms may also occur. Symptoms can include:

  • Confusion.
  • Inability to communicate.
  • Inability to learn new things.
  • Language problems.
  • Memory loss.
  • Paranoia.
  • Repetitive questions.
  • Difficulty managing money or paying bills.
  • Reasoning difficulties.
  • Wandering or loss of bearings.

Diagnosis of memory disorders.

Your doctor will discuss your concerns with you and your family members and learn about your lifestyle, personality, work habits, medical history and general health.

Your diagnostic tests may include:

  • Neurological tests to diagnose thinking and memory problems.
  • Physical and neurological exam to test: Reflexes, muscle tone and strength, ability to walk or get up from a chair, sense of sight and hearing, coordination and balance.
  • Lab tests to look in the blood for treatable causes of memory loss, such as: Thyroid disorders, vitamin deficiencies.
  • Specialized brain imaging studies including: Computed tomography to rule out causes such as stroke. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine how the brain has changed. Positron emission tomography (PET) to detect levels of plaques (abnormal clumps of protein) or tangles (torsions in the brain’s transport system) in the brain. Functional MRI (fMRI) maps the parts of the brain that control functions such as speech or movement.
  • Neuropsychological tests use specialized tasks in the areas of cognition, language, memory, and motor skills to check for specific brain structures or pathways.

Treatments as needed.

Treatments for memory problems and dementia aim to prevent symptoms from getting worse and improve your overall functioning and quality of life.

Dementia caused by an infection or a reaction to medication can often be treated and reversed. Progressive dementias – like Alzheimer’s disease – can be slowed down, but not stopped.

Your treatments may include:


If an infection is causing memory problems, antibiotics can treat the infection.

Diet and nutrition:

Malnutrition can lead to memory impairment. A proper diet can help restore normal nutrients and cognitive abilities.

Abstinence from drugs and alcohol:

Some forms of memory impairment are caused by the use of drugs and alcohol.

Medications :

Certain medications (cholinesterase inhibitors) can slow the decline of memory, thinking and language and reduce behavioral changes, hallucinations and delusions.

Cognitive rehabilitation:

Therapies focused on improving cognitive abilities for a wide range of activities and using tools and techniques such as memory diaries or self-cues.

Physical activity :

Staying active can slow the progression of symptoms and keep you healthy. You can exercise on your own or with a physical therapist.

Social interactions:

Spending quality time with loved ones and friends can improve your mood, reduce feelings of isolation, and boost your overall health.

Safe and comfortable environment:

Living in a familiar and calming environment reduces the risk of injury and feelings of anxiety.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.