Memory is the faculty of our brain which keeps or stores all the information which we gather since our birth. Some people have got very sharp memory while others may have average and even can have a weak memory. But when to call it as sharp, average or weak?
A person is said to have sharp memory when he/she can remember all types of data like dates, names, places, all the details of the events, etc., quickly and can utter them quickly in the same manner whenever required. While memory is said to be average when these things are not remembered in a pictographic manner but in a hazy picture which can procure lesser details only. Memory is said to be weak when a person forgets the above-stated things frequently and faces difficulty in remembering even the recently occurred events.
Every one of us at some point in our lives have experienced forgetfulness. This could be because of some non-pathological reasons and not necessarily create any huge problem for that person. But if these type of incidences increases significantly; one can face a lot of problems and even their quality of life might get lowered.
Since our birth and till the end of our life we gather too much of information which can be more than our storage capacity, our brain has divided it in two types, viz., short term memory and long-term memory. Short term memory stores the information for a short time duration which gets deleted on its own from our brain. While long-term memory is kept for life-time and is used for interpretation of all the present and future situations.
Usually long-term memory is said to be affected in people termed to be having weakness of memory. But different disease conditions can affect any of these memories or even both at the same time. Slight weakness of memory can occur along with the increasing age which is not of much concern. But major and progressive weakness of memory can be a sign of some serious illness.
- Increasing age: As our age increases, memory becomes weaker which is usually a normal phenomenon. In old age, one might start forgetting the names, or might forget things after keeping them somewhere etc. If the frequency of such events increases progressively, then there could be some underlying disease which should be treated as soon as possible.
- Disturbed sleep cycle: Memory is affected significantly if we take less sleep or take naps in pieces which disturbs the quality of sleep. Disturbed and altered quantity and quality of sleeping patterns affect your memory significantly as this leads to fatigue in general. This leads to decrease ability in consolidation and extraction of information.
- Medications: Over-use of certain medications like anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medicines, tranquilizers, anti-histamines, sleeping pills, anesthesia etc. can lead to significant weakness of memory.
- Stimulants excess/ addiction: Stimulants like alcohol, tobacco or drug abuse are related to significant weakness of memory. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen supply to the brain leading to hinderance in remembering things in long run.
- Head injury: A severe fall over or injury from any hard object on the head can injure our brain leading to memory loss which can be reversible and sometimes even non-reversible. It can affect both long as well as short-term memory.
- Stroke: When the blood supply of our brain is blocked due to break or blockage in the blood vessels of the brain, it leads to injury to brain cells. This injury can lead to memory loss as well as weakness of memory in long run. Usually short-term memory is affected from stroke.
- Mental disorders: Mental disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders and even too much stress can lead to weakness of memory. This can occur due to lack of concentration and attention.
- Nutritional deficiency: Diet deficient in essential nutrients especially vitamin B1 and vitamin B12 can lead to weakness of memory as these are required for the repairing or metabolism occurring in our brain cells. Also, certain essential fatty acids and proteins are required for proper functioning of our brain whose deficiency can also affect memory.
- Seizure disorder
- Brain tumor or infection can lead to injury in brain tissue which may cause memory loss as well.
- Neurodegenerative disorders such as Multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, or Parkinson’s disease etc. can affect the memory significantly. These diseases present with other systemic signs and symptoms which can help in their diagnosis.
- Chemotherapy, radiation therapy used in treatment of cancer may also lead to changes in brain and cause weakness of memory.
- Systemic illnesses such as thyroid dysfunction may also lead to weakness of memory in the long run if not treated adequately.
- Dementia: It is characterized by progressive memory loss and comprise of many other symptoms like mood swings, behavioral problems etc. This is a severe form of memory loss where the earliest sign is weakness of memory. it can be caused by diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, one of its commonest cause. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are the key to control its progress.
Sound body and healthy lifestyle are primary key to keep yourself fit and disease free. To prevent memory loss, try to avoid risk factors stated above. There are some exercises and activities which can help in making your memory sharper. Some of them are stated below:
- Active mental activity: To keep your brain active, include some mental activities which can stimulate your brain like solving puzzles, crossword, sudoku etc. Try to learn some musical instrument. Solve mathematical questions. Teach kids if possible.
- Physical activity is as much important as mental activity. Aerobic exercises are preferred as these helps to increase the blood flow to all the organs and keep you fit physically as well as mentally as you feel fresh after such exercises.
- Keep off your depression and stress by socializing regularly with your friends and family. If possible, try to interact with kids as they are the best stress busters.
- Adequate sleep: It helps you keep your body charged and hence proper functioning of your brain which helps in adequate consolidation and retrieval of your memories.
- Balanced diet: Make your diet healthy by adding every essential nutrient in it. For a healthy brain vitamin B complex and proteins are mandatory. Add fruits, whole grains and green vegetables to your diet. Limit your alcohol intake and drugs should be avoided overall.
- If you forget your things after keeping them then try to organize them in an orderly manner. Fix places for your essential items like keys, wallet, watch etc. and try to keep them on that place only. You can use calendar, sticky notes or digital planner to make you memorize your important dates and events.
If your daily activities are affected due to your weak memory then you should consult a doctor to know if there’s any pathology behind it or not. To check out upon this matter there are some physical examination, problem-solving tests, questionnaires which your physician might do. There are other investigations like CT Scan, MRI etc. which might be needed to confirm diagnosis or to eliminate other causes.
Apart from above-stated examinations tests, if any problem is found with your memory then you might need medicinal intervention. There are homeopathic medicines available for weak memory. There are many medicines for weak memory in homeopathy but these should be taken only after consultation with a registered homeopathic practitioner as there are selected after proper history taking, symptoms similarity and according to the cause involved. Following is a list of commonly used best homeopathic medicines for weak memory:
Agnus castus: For people having absent-mindedness, forgetfulness and having lack of courage. This is given when the history tracks this back to some gonorrheal origin. Absent-minded people who cannot recollect and has to read a sentence twice before they can comprehend.
Anacardium orientale: Indicated for impaired memory with absent mindedness. When there is sudden loss of memory and everything seems to be in a dream. Person is confused and unfit for business. Very much worried for his/her forgetfulness. Suited to person disposed to be malicious and hysterical.
Baryta carbonicum: especially for inattentive children who are forgetful and have deficient memory. They cannot be taught as they can’t remember.
Bacopa monnieri 1X: Used as a tonic for absent-mindedness and for a short and weak memory.
Conium maculatum: Indicated for persons who are disposed to glandular affections, especially for affections in old age. Given when there is weakness of memory when the person is unable to sustain any mental effort and the person himself don’t take interest in anything. No inclination for business or study.
Nux moschata: For weakness of memory with absent-mindedness and inability to think. Thoughts disappear while reading, writing or talking. Uses wrong words. Not able to recognize well-known streets as well.
Selenium: For forgetfulness especially in business matters, but during sleep dreams of what he had forgotten. Adapted to persons who consume excessive alcohol and are emaciated in appearance.