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Mini-Guide: What Is Anterograde Amnesia?

Mini-Guide: What Is Anterograde Amnesia?


There are different types of memory loss, Anterograde amnesia is one of them. It is a type of memory loss that is characterized by the inability to form new memories. In some severe cases, people lose the ability to maintain or learn new information. Anterograde amnesia is rare and often identified through the presence of temporary symptoms.

Research shows that the symptoms of Anterograde amnesia last temporarily (typically hours) and memories are usually retained to normal subsequently. In this blog, we will be taking a deep look at what anterograde amnesia is, examples, its causes, symptoms, and more. So, let’s get started!

What is Anterograde Amnesia?

Anterograde amnesia is a type of memory loss that is characterized by the inability to form new memories. In some severe cases, people lose the ability to maintain or learn new information. Anterograde amnesia is rare and often identified through the presence of temporary symptoms. However, this condition is permanent and becomes worse with time.

Research shows that anterograde amnesia is likely to happen along with retrograde amnesia and other mental health conditions. One of the most common examples of anterograde amnesia can be forgetting recently met people or places.

Related Read: The Psychology Of Memory: Formation, Duration, Types, And More

Differences between Anterograde and Retrograde Amnesia

Anterograde AmnesiaRetrograde Amnesia
Type of memory loss characterized by the inability to form new memoriesType of memory loss characterized by loss of past memories.
Ante is a Latin word that means before, in the context of anterograde amnesia, it means an inability to store new memories.Retro is a Latin word that means backward, it means this type of amnesia makes a person lose already-stored memories.
In simple words, people are not able to create or learn new memories or information.In simple words, people experience memories in a backward manner.
Both types of amnesia can happen at the same time. For example, dementia is caused by an inability to recall past memories and form new ones.Both types of amnesia can happen at the same time—for example, dementia which is caused by an inability to recall past memories and form new ones.

Related Read: Stress & Memory | How Stress Affects Our Memory

Symptoms of Anterograde Amnesia

Anterograde amnesia is caused by the inability to form new memories which means people tend to forget easily even things that happened a while ago.

Below listed are some of the important symptoms of anterograde amnesia:

  • Constantly forgets places or names of people witnessed in a short duration
  • Easily forgets about recent events or conversations which may cause repetitive questioning and reactions multiple times in a short duration
  • Faces problems with memory-related abilities such as the inability to read, write, or speak
  • Severe headache caused by inability to remember things

Causes of Anterograde Amnesia

Psychologists believe that anterograde amnesia can be caused by the presence of common conditions such as:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Anesthesia
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Brain inflammation
  • Brain surgery
  • Brain tumor
  • Chronic alcoholism
  • Concussion or sports injury
  • Dissociative amnesia
  • Drug use
  • Epilepsy
  • Head injuries
  • Infections
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Toxins
  • Transient global amnesia
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (Alcoholic Dementia)

Diagnosis and Treatment of Anterograde Amnesia

If you think you or your loved one might be struggling with anterograde amnesia or any other type of amnesia, the first step is to connect with a physical health provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Generally, a team of healthcare professionals such as neurologists, psychiatrists, or radiologists is required to make the right diagnosis and come up with an effective management or treatment plan.

The diagnosis process of anterograde amnesia requires lab tests and scans to check memory and cognitive abilities, blood tests to look for infections or oxygen levels, scans for checking brain injuries or internal bleeds, and others. The diagnostic criteria for anterograde amnesia involve:

  • Verification of Affected memory
  • Verification of duration of affected memory
  • Verification of Cause of affected memory
  • Verification of family history
  • Verification of substance use or seizures
  • Verification of related problems or underlying conditions such as personality changes, confusion, and language issues

Coming forth to the treatment process, anterograde amnesia is not treatable or curable, however, research shows that it’s possible to treat or manage underlying causes. The treatment process highly depends on the severity and underlying conditions. However, some conditions resolve on their own and some might need the attention of healthcare professionals.

Additionally, the treatment processes are based on your circumstances, medical history, preferences, and severity, therefore, it’s important to connect with a healthcare provider and track your symptoms. Below listed therapy techniques are known to be effective for managing anterograde amnesia:

Brain Retraining Techniques

Anterograde amnesia directly affects explicit memory which can be managed with the help of errorless learning, procedural learning, and priming.

  • Errorless learning: Errorless learning involves learning from mistakes by focusing on prompts and hints provided. This helps in strengthening and rebuilding connections and networks within memories.
  • Procedural learning: Procedural learning involves focus on practice and replication.
  • Priming: Priming involves providing cues to make some learn. Gradually, relying on cues decreases.

Compensating Techniques

Below listed are some of the commonly used compensation strategies:

  • Journaling
  • Maintaining a to-do list or diary
  • Using planners or calendars
  • Sticking to-do notes or labels
  • Downloading and using apps that help take medications, pay bills, and other important tasks

Other Techniques

  • Family support
  • Memory training
  • Occupational therapy
  • Technological assistance
  • Vitamin B1 supplements

I hope this blog helps you understand everything you want to know about Anterograde amnesia. Comment down and share your queries through the same or you can also write to us at Calm Sage. For more such content, connect with us through all social media platforms.

Thanks for reading!



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