Amnesia refers to the loss of memories such as facts, information and experiences. Typically, people with amnesia have difficulty learning new information which is known as anterograde amnesia. Or they have difficulty remembering past events which is known as retrograde amnesia. People usually know who they are, but they may have trouble forming new memories or taking in new information. Unlike Hollywood movies, it is not usual with amnesia for a person to lose their identity. While there’s no specific treatment for amnesia, psychological support can help as well as using practical strategies to enhance memory.

Common problems with amnesia

  • Find it hard to remember information they used to know before their amnesia
  • Difficulty learning and remembering information
  • Most people have problems with short-term memory so recent memories are likely to be lost
  • They can experience a pattern of forgetfulness
People with amnesia can:

  • Usually remember how to do things they were previously good at
  • Understand written and spoken words
  • Understand they have a memory disorder
  • Be helped by cues such as prompting with the first letter of someone’s name
  • Retain their intelligence, general knowledge, awareness, attention span, judgement and personality