Different Types of Amnesia

5 pages
1132 words
Type of paper: 
This essay has been submitted by a student.
This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Brain injuries can be very traumatic to patients and can have a wide range of impact on the individuals health. Brain injuries may be long term, permanent or temporary depending on the area of the brain that is affected and the severity of the injury. The brain is divided into the hind brain, midbrain and forebrain (Bear, Connors, & Paradiso, 2007). The hind brain is made up of three key parts namely the pons, the cerebellum and the medulla. The medulla links the backbone to the pons and the pons bridge the cerebrum to the cerebellum. The cerebellum is directly behind the brain stem and it therefore maintains posture, balance and movement. Midbrain handles the eye movement reflexes. The forebrain is divided into telencephalon and diencephalon (Bear, Connors, & Paradiso, 2007). Telencephalon section of the brain comprises of the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia and the limbic system. The cerebral cortex is mainly for memory, understanding and spatial processing. Basal ganglia aids in regulating movement and the learning of skills whereas the limbic system is for processing emotions, formation of long term memories and maintaining homeostasis (Bear, Connors, & Paradiso, 2007).

Trust banner

If this sample essay on"Different Types of Amnesia" doesn’t help,
our writers will!

Amnesia or amnesic syndrome is a condition that is characterized by loss of memory as a result of brain damage, psychological trauma, or disease (Squire, 2013). Also, amnesia can occur as a temporary condition created by long term us of hard drugs including sedatives and hypnotic drugs. One can either lose their memory partially or wholly depending on the severity of the cause. Amnesia goes beyond simple forgetfulness and absent-mindedness as it is a serious medical condition. The causes of amnesia can be classified as either organic or functional (Squire, 2013). Organic or neurological causes of amnesia are those that involve physical injury to the brain, the use of hard drugs, or neurological ailments that can impair ones memory. On the other hand, the functional or psychogenesis causes of amnesia are those that relate to psychological issues such as mental disorders, psychological defense mechanisms or post-traumatic stress (Squire, 2013).

Amnesia can be categorized into two major categories anterograde amnesia and retrograde amnesia. Anterograde amnesia refers to the inability of an individual to create new memories as a result of brain injury or damage. However, this does not affect the long term memories that the individual had prior to the event. One can damage their brain, and therefore (Brodal, 2010), cause anterograde amnesia, in various ways. For instance, consumption of alcohol for a long time can have negative effects on ones brain, thereby impairing his or her ability to grasp new memories. Also, severe malnutrition, head trauma, surgery, encephalitis, stroke, cerebrovascular events, and any other major traumas can also affect ones brain. Essentially, anterograde amnesia occurs when two important areas of the brain are affected. The affected areas of the brain include the medial temporal lobe as well as the medial diencephalon. When these parts of the brain are affected, it becomes impossible for the brain to transfer data from the short term memory into the long term memory due to the neural loss (Brodal, 2010). Consequently, this type of amnesia cannot be treated using pharmacological drugs as a result of the neural loss. However, it is important to advise the affected individuals to change their daily routines in order to boost their procedural memory. Furthermore, it is also critical to ensure that those affected receive the social and emotional support they need in order to improve the quality of their lives.

On the other hand, retrograde amnesia is a condition involving the loss of memory that one had prior to the condition setting in. the patient can create new memories after the amnesic incident, but may never recall any of the events that may have happened in their past before the condition. In most cases, retrograde amnesia occurs as a result of brain damage or head trauma, which affects other parts of the brain apart from the hippocampus (Brodal, 2010). The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is responsible for creating or forming new memories. Since it is not affected, the individual can still create new memories, but may never recall past events. The episodic memory is the one at higher risk of being affected as a result of the damage in relation to semantic memory (Squire, 2013). Patients suffering from this condition can gain little memory by remembering general events rather than the specifics involved (Brodal, 2010). Also, it is difficult for them to recall recent memories while they may remember some of the past memories. For the most part, retrograde amnesia is a temporary condition that can be treated to help the patient recover the memory. This can be achieved by exposing the patient to various factors and events that can trigger older memories. The other approach for treating retrograde amnesia involves transferring information form the hippocampus into the cortex, which stores permanent memory. This process can take several days or weeks and is seen as a long term process, especially for patients who can recall some of their childhood memories.

Apart from the two main types of amnesia, there are other categories of the amnesic syndrome including Post-traumatic amnesia, Dissociative amnesia, Childhood amnesia, and Drug-induced amnesia among others (Squire, 2013). Post-traumatic amnesia occurs when an individuals brain is damaged through severe injury such as when a person falls down on their head, or when they are knocked on the head. This can either be permanent or temporary depending on the severity of the injury (Squire, 2013). On the other hand, Dissociative amnesia results from psychological causes such as repressed memory, Posthypnotic amnesia, and Dissociative fugue. Childhood amnesia, on the other hand, is a common form of amnesia, which involves an individuals inability to recall childhood events. Physical abuse on children has a lot of effects on children, some of which may be long term and may persist in to the adult life of the child. There are various psychological, emotional and physical ailments associated with child physical abuse. Child victims of physical abuse are exposed to different physical injuries such as bone fractures and damages to the skin and other body tissues. Permanent physical damages to victims of child physical abuse that may persist in the long term include brain impairment, poor physical health and Shaken Baby Syndrome (Huckshorn, LeBel, & Jacobs, 2014). Child victims of physical abuse also experience psychological effects such as psychiatric problems or other forms of disorganized attachment styles.


Bear, M. F., Connors, B. W., & Paradiso, M. A. (2007). Neuroscience: Exploring the brain. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Brodal, P. (2010). The Central Nervous System. Oxford: Oxford University Press, USA.

Huckshorn, K. A., LeBel, J., & Jacobs, H. E. (2014). An organizational approach to reducing and preventing restraint and seclusion use with people with acquired brain injury. Neurorehabilitation, 34(4), 671-680.

Squire, L. R. (2013). Fundamental neuroscience. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Academic Press.

If you want discreet, top-grade help, order a custom paper from our experts.

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SuperbGrade website, please click below to request its removal: