Although people hear the term amnesia quite often, there is often a misunderstanding of a few key facts.
You may be familiar with amnesic episodes. If so, you know that when someone has amnesia, they suffer from a form of memory loss, either from an emotional, stressful situation (stemming from post-traumatic stress disorder) or from an injury or trauma to the head or brain.
Amnesia can be broken into two parts–anterograde and retrograde. Retrograde amnesia is the loss of memory before a specific point or event in one’s life. This could mean that after a car accident, someone forgets their past. This affects one’s long-term memory. Anterograde amnesia, however, is the loss of short-term memory, and happens AFTER a certain event happens. From that point on, a person can have the inability to store information in their short-term memory. They may remember specific moments from a year ago, but would forget something that happened the day before.
Anterograde amnesia is a very complex form of amnesia that can be either temporary or permanent. Depending on the incident that caused the amnesia episode, there may be a way to improve one’s memory but not always a way to reverse or cure one’s memory.
There are a few different causes of anterograde amnesia. One can suffer from a head trauma and see the effects of amnesia, or they may have experience a traumatic or emotional instance that causes extreme stress or shock. High blood alcohol concentration can also lead to short-term anterograde amnesia, and in some cases, this form of amnesia can be drug-induced under proper medical care.