Hidden amnesia in Major Depression

“Being a little forgetful is completely different than having amnesia. Amnesia refers to a large-scale loss of memories that should not have been forgotten”. What is amnesia and how is it treated? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/9673

“Amnesia can be hard to detect, especially in a relatively silent person. People with amnesia usually retain knowledge of their own identity, as well as motor skills”. Amnesia https://www.healthline.com/health/amnesia [accessed today].

Early History of Amnesia

Karen G Langer 1


Memory and forgetfulness have been viewed since antiquity from perspectives of physical, emotional, and spiritual states of well-being, and conceptualized philosophically. Numerous discussions of memory loss, or case reports, existed, but a fundamental advance in conceptualization of memory loss as a pathological clinical phenomenon originated when Sauvages classified “amnesia” as a medical disorder, in 1763. Originally, amnesia was recognized as a weakening or dissolution of memory, according to a taxonomy that ascribed known causes to the disorder. Etiologic factors included neurological disorders of stroke, hemorrhage, and head injury, metabolic dysregulation, alcohol and substance abuse, toxicity, anoxia, and other acute or chronic (sometimes progressive) brain disorders. Clinical descriptions of amnesia appeared internationally in medical dictionaries and scientific encyclopedias in the early 19th century. The possibility that amnesia could be either idiopathic, or symptomatic of another illness, was proposed based on the wide range of recognized etiologies and associations. Debate ensued regarding the status of amnesia as an illness or a symptom, but regardless, amnesia was soon recognized as an independent disorder of memory, distinguishable from disorders of global intellect, or of consciousness, or of language. Distinctions of amnesia considered its temporal gradient, duration and natural course, nature of onset, severity or depth of memory loss, course, and prognosis. Concepts of retrograde (forgetting knowledge preceding onset) and anterograde (difficulty learning, recalling new information) further specified the nature of amnestic memory difficulty. Alcoholic amnesia in Korsakoff’s syndrome generated much attention. Amnesia as a clinical feature was critical to the development of notions of dissociation of conscious from subconscious recall in hysteria, and differentiation of neurogenically-based from psychogenically-based amnesia became central to understanding post-traumatic states. Amnesia studied as a disorder of memory remains an avenue to enrich clinical understanding of a condition that continues to be powerfully challenging to this day. Early History of Amnesia Karen G Langer  PMID: 31220849DOI: 10.1159/000494953

Recreational drugs and medical drugs can cause different levels of amnesia. Amnesia may be a reversible condition. The key is knowing the cause . There are different levels and different kinds of amnesia. What is amnesia and how is it treated? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/9673

What Paula experienced for over a year was amnesia. She knows that now. She woke up one day feeling a great deal of anguish only to find out later on what she did not yet know; the anguish, in this case, signalled a large scale loss of memories that should not have been forgotten. She was semi-aware of her amnesia yet did not know that she had amnesia, she was so mentally confused and mentally dulled . She was unable to tell anyone because she could not find the words to explain her mental state. And when she tried, no one understood the full extent of her memory loss….amnesia is not an ordinary state and no one can recognize it easily it or name what it is because amnesia is so private and strange an experience.

Amnesia makes one realize how much of our persona is automatically generated by our brain and our bodies. Especially if our motor co-ordination is untouched by the condition. Paula looked like herself, she acted like a timid version of herself, she was quieter than her usual [because she could not remember what to say in any situation], and she did not explain or complain about anything.

I was there when she became amnesic and I could not tell. I could not tell at all. And we are very close friends and colleagues. And I know a lot of psychology. And I could not tell….not for a long. long time. No one expects a person who becomes a little quiet and timid to be amnesic, no one. I suspected instead that she was tired or “stressed” or worried about some family situation or a little “under the weather” or any endless number of things we all experience. Amnesia is something that isn’t part of “normal” experience so it is not easily detected if the person remains silent, as Paula did.

Is amnesia the same as dementia?

Amnesia isn’t the same as dementia. Dementia often includes memory loss, but it also involves other significant cognitive problems that lead to a decline in daily functioning. Paula had both. And because she was silent most of the time, nobody knew. Nobody “saw” it. Paula looked depressed and distressed [ because she was] and this was assumed by all of us to have psychological causes because that is something we could all understand. Amnesia- when was the last time any of us recognized amnesia, unless the person was vocal and repeated themselves out loud continually? Amnesia is impossible to detect in a person who remains silent and embarrassed about their memory loss.

And this is the diagnostic problem with amnesia in what is presumed to be a major depression. Depressed people tend to be fairly silent and brooding. It is easy to project psychological reasons for their silence and their brooding.

. ……….to be continued…..

Our hypothesis is that her amnesia and loss of significant cognitive function was due to chemical causes far away from the brain that affected the function of brain. How did we come to this conclusion? Simple. We did what Dr. Kraepelin did, we measured resting breathing rate and the rest of the vital signs. It was pretty obvious after that.

to be continued …………

Hypercapnia can result from exposure to higher than normal levels of carbon dioxide in the environment, especially an indoor environment. C02 is odourless and invisible. It is a gas. It is heavier than air, it displaces oxygen and poses a suffocation hazard.

to be continued as I research this topic further………..

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