Cognitive & Memory clinics
Memory Problems Q & A
Are all memory problems a symptom of a serious underlying medical issue?
Minor memory “slips” are very common and generally are nothing to worry about. But when memory problems become pervasive and chronic, they can be a sign of a more serious underlying problem, and having a professional evaluation by a neurologist can help determine that cause so appropriate treatment can be provided.
What causes chronic memory issues?
Temporary memory loss issues can be caused by treatable issues like:
- alcohol or drug abuse
- head injuries
- use of some types of prescription medications
- mental health issues including depression and anxiety disorders
Other types of memory loss are caused by dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, or from tiny strokes called transient ischemic attacks or TIAs. These issues affect the structure of the brain and are associated with permanent memory loss and other symptoms. Symptoms of these types of underlying medical causes include:
- problems finding words to describe abstract concepts like feelings or situations
- asking the same question over and over
- getting lost easily or having difficulty finding a way home
- changes in mood or behavior
- taking a long time to perform simple, everyday tasks like getting dressed
How are memory problems evaluated and diagnosed?
Diagnosing memory problems begins with a review of the patient’s symptoms and the impact those symptoms are having on the patient’s life and the lives of his or her loved ones. An in-depth patient history and a physical exam with cognitive function tests can also provide important information. In some cases, MRI, CT scan or other testing may be performed to look for changes in the brain tissue, or Doppler ultrasound imaging may be used to evaluate the blood vessels that lead to the brain. The tests and evaluations used will depend largely on the patient’s specific symptoms and medical risk factors.
How are memory problems treated?
Treatment for memory problems is highly variable and requires a customized, patient-centered approach for optimal results. Today, there are many medications and other therapies available to help people with memory problems. At New York Neurology Associates, we provide patient-centered care using the most advanced options to help patients understand the cause of memory issues and get the most appropriate treatment to relieve symptoms or slow the progression of underlying diseases.