All of us experience little glitches in our memory. A song once compared memory to “a faulty camera in our minds, ” and that’s a pretty good descriptor. You can see the effect in eyewitness testimony and research done on the effectiveness of it. It turns out we’re not as good at remembering things as we think we are.
Of course, sometimes, our ability to retain gets worse. It may be just a side effect of aging or it could be something more serious. How can you tell whether your memory loss is normal or a sign of something more concerning?
The first thing you should consider is how often your memory issues occur. Are you occasionally forgetting things like where you left your keys or the name of a movie you saw years ago? If that’s the extent of your memory issues, that’s pretty typical. We all have those moments where something’s on the tip of our tongue. It’s usually not a sign of anything serious.
However, if you’re struggling to remember things on a daily basis, this is a cause for concern. Many things are the cause of memory loss, including sleep disruptions, medication, or bad habits like alcohol and drugs, so it’s important to rule out things like this before you go further.
If your (or a loved one’s) memory issues have progressed to the point where you forget things not only daily, but in the moment, this is a severe sign. For example, if you can’t follow a conversation you’re having or can’t remember what common objects are called, you should make an appointment with your doctor. This kind of memory loss is usually a sign of something severe, and it’s important to seek medical attention ASAP.