How to Distinguish between Simple Forgetfulness and a Serious Health Disorder

Forgetfulness is a common phenomenon that many people experience. Sometimes, it is just a slight annoyance; at other times, it may indicate a severe health problem. The fine line between simple forgetfulness and probable health disorders should not be ignored, as intervention and management are critical.

What is Forgetfulness, and When Should You Worry?

Forgetfulness can range from simple causes to much more complex neurological disorders. Memory gaps can be purely innocent and transient – just oversights by the mind. However, they can also be the first signs of severe illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. In its early stages, the disease can be managed by boosting the acetylcholine levels in the brain, an essential neurotransmitter for cell-to-cell communication. Similarly, vascular dementia, whose symptoms are the quick decline of memory because of the disruption of the flow of blood across the brain, is a disease that has to be treated with all possible attentiveness to save the mentality of the patient. It is vital to distinguish these serious diseases from everyday forgetfulness, which can be accounted for by stress, depression, or memories of some past traumas. Forgetting in such a non-systematic way where information can be remembered with appropriate cues usually doesn’t signal something profound in the health aspect, and it can be corrected with psychological interventions.

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The basis for forgetfulness is psychological; it’s rather profound. Psychoanalyst Ksenia Korbut says that forgetfulness often comes from a divergence from the inner man—life is regarded as a heavy ordeal. This disconnection might make forgetting a temporary relief mechanism, even if it is a short-term solution.

How Psychological Techniques May Help Improve Memory

Psychodramatic training and psychotherapy might clarify a person’s relationship to oneself and one’s family history, explaining the psychological reasons for forgetfulness. Anything that makes us uncomfortable, anxious, or fearful is repressed in the unconscious from a psychoanalytical viewpoint. Like Korbut insists, forgetting could be a psychological mechanism to protect a person from ambivalent feelings and from experiencing the negative ones, yet, in the long term, it would mean that a person disunites with his real personality.

Personal testimonials, like the one given by 51-year-old Nikolai from the Ministry of Culture, exemplify how forgetfulness gets in the way of everyday life—losing track of what one was doing or important professional agreements that one forgets to keep will become increasingly intolerable, thus justifying tackling such problems. Our unconscious stores everything, sometimes bursting onto our conscious screen in dreams, slip-ups, or memory loss. For instance, 32-year-old Alexander’s recurrent forgetfulness or loss of keys symbolizes deeper, unresolved issues. This symbolic expression of forgetfulness underlines the sophisticated relationship between our state of mind and memory functions.


How can I know if it is due to stress or a neurological condition?

Forgetfulness related to stress typically gets better with relaxation or stress management techniques. Persistent forgetfulness is not associated with stress, and these that affect daily life may be related to a neurological condition, and consultation with a healthcare provider would be needed. Early clues include finding it hard to remember recent events or conversations, finding words, and needing cues to remember information. Symptoms develop slowly, affecting daily functioning.

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Where do I seek help if I think my forgetfulness could be better?

Neurologist: In case the forgetfulness is persistent or showing progression, that is, a person is forgetting things at least two times more than usual and resulting in disturbance in daily activities, then it is suggested to consult a neurologist. Moreover, any stress-related issues may also help consult a psychologist or psychotherapist. Forgetfulness is called severe if it is persistent, worsens progressively, or makes a significant impact on daily life, possibly indicating neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia.

How do psychological interventions help improve memory?

The psychotherapeutic or psychodramatic interventions are, most of the times, but indirectly, likely to benefit memory by attending to the stress, depression, or even some unresolved traumatic experiences that the particular patient is going through. This would surely enhance the overall mental health of the patient.

What is acetylcholine, and what is its relation to memory?

Acetylcholine is an essential neurotransmitter in the mechanisms of memory and learning. The decrease in the level of the acetylcholine neurotransmitter inside the brains of persons with Alzheimer’s disease was found to be responsible for memory loss and problems with other cognitive abilities. Most of the treatments for Alzheimer’s disease are designed to help increase acetylcholine levels.

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1 Comment

  1. Hey, I’ve noticed that psychotherapy sessions seem to help with memory indirectly. They tackle stress and stuff, which probably makes our brains work better overall. Cool, huh?

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