Is it Forgetfulness or Memory Loss? Here’s the Difference

Is it Forgetfulness or Memory Loss? Here’s the Difference

If you find yourself forgetting words while you speak and getting lost in familiar places, it could be a sign of something more serious.

Everyone forgets things now and then. Where you put your car keys, when the library books are due: it’s normal. But when is that common forgetfulness a sign of something more serious?

Experts say there are some benchmarks to look for. It’s normal to forget the name of an actor in the movie you saw last week, but when that forgetfulness becomes more persistent and severe, it could be time to seek help.

Are you friends and family noticing that something seems off? Are you asking the same questions over and over, or repeating yourself too often? These can be signs.

Mixing up words such as saying ‘fork’ instead of ‘spoon’, misplacing items in strange and inappropriate places, getting lost in familiar areas and experiencing mood changes for no real reason can also be indicators that permanent memory loss is at play.

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It’s good to remember that there can be multiple causes of memory loss, however. Certain medications for instance, such as those used to treat incontinence and anxiety can lead to memory problems.

Once you stop the medication, your thoughts should improve. Depression, thyroid problems and a vitamin B12 deficiency can also be behind absent-mindedness. Talk to your doctor and get a referral to a neurologist if you or your family feels concerned.

For more information on memory, check the Mayo Clinic by clicking here.

Photo credits: Dmytro Zinkevych/

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