I don’t recall

By on August 30, 2010


My husband habitually forgets appointments, where he puts his keys, what he said, etc.  I am sure that it is not Alzheimer’s disease.   What could be causing it and how can this be treated?

Forgetfulness means the person has forgotten something they had previously remembered. Generally you have to sustain attention to a fact to remember it and this can happen to anybody. Persons with attention deficit or depression may have attention and concentration problems and not remember things. Elderly persons may also have some trouble concentrating or recalling new material that is not practiced but this is usually not progressive and many elderly persons maintain sharp memory.

Dementia is a condition, the most common form of which is Alzheimer’s Dementia, and this can start as the inability to remember new material; forgetting of old memories is usually not seen until later in the illness. Alzheimer’s persons will confabulate or make up stories when asked about data, whereas persons with depression will complain that their mind is not working. High blood pressure, a history of strokes, diabetes, medications, drug and alcohol use, colds and the flu, jet-lag, overwork and sleep-deprivation, etc. may all be associated with memory problems.  

You can probably see from this discussion that memory, concentration, and attention problems are symptoms of some other underlying issue. If the person or people they are close to are concerned about a memory problem then they should have an evaluation by a psychiatrist as a starting point.



The discussions herein are meant as general information and advice only. Each person needs to make their own personal life decisions and to contact a mental health professional for consultation if deemed appropriate.

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About Douglas Berger, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Douglas Berger and his staff at the Meguro Counseling Center in the Shibuya-Ebisu area provide mental health care for individuals, couples, and families, in both English and Japanese. www.megurocounseling.com