What are the Causes of Memory Loss in Young People?

Laura M. Sands

A multitude of conditions and injuries can contribute to the onset of memory loss in young people. A few of these contributing factors include head injury, brain disorder, vitamin deficiency, alcohol abuse and drug abuse. Sleep disorders may also cause cognitive deficiencies, including memory loss.

Vitamin deficiency may cause memory loss in young people.
Vitamin deficiency may cause memory loss in young people.

Brain injuries attributed to physical abuse, a series of minor accidents and even contact sports tend to cause memory loss in young people. While symptoms may not immediately appear following a trauma, research indicates that repeated, minor incidents of head injury may eventually lead to memory loss. In some, memory loss is short term, but long term memory loss is also possible under such circumstances.

Huffing paint can leads to memory loss in young people.
Huffing paint can leads to memory loss in young people.

Memory loss in young people is sometimes the result of a brain tumor or a stroke. While most commonly associated with older adults, anyone at any age can experience a stroke. A tumor may also cause a serious brain disorder leading to seizures, personality changes and migraine headaches, in addition to memory loss.

Head injuries can lead to memory loss in young people.
Head injuries can lead to memory loss in young people.

A vitamin deficiency will also cause memory loss in young people. In particular, individuals lacking healthy amounts of vitamin B12 may experience bouts of disorientation, as well as memory loss. Although deficiency is rare, vitamin B6 may also have the same affect on young people.

Sleep disorders such as narcolepsy might affect a persons memory.
Sleep disorders such as narcolepsy might affect a persons memory.

Environmental factors are frequently to blame for memory loss. For instance, children exposed to too much mercury in the womb may tend to experience cognitive impairments, particularly memory loss and attention disorders. Exposure to lead during childhood may also contribute to memory loss and learning disabilities in children.

Some recreational drugs have an effect on the brain's ability to form new memories.
Some recreational drugs have an effect on the brain's ability to form new memories.

Individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol are also at risk for memory impairment. Although an inebriated person may appear to function at some levels, it is common for individuals to experience a lack of recall of events that occurred while intoxicated. These episodes of memory loss in young people are frequently referred to as blackouts and occur as a result of alcohol preventing the brain from forming new memories. Recreational drugs, such as marijuana, have a similar affect on the brain.

Stress can cause temporary memory loss.
Stress can cause temporary memory loss.

Sleep disorders, including insomnia and narcolepsy, may also cause memory impairments. Memory loss in young people is sometimes caused by periods of stress or anxiety, which also tend to inhibit sleep and, therefore, cause the brain to function at a decreased capacity. Normally, this type of memory loss is short term and is easily corrected as stress is relieved and normal sleep patterns are restored.

Memory loss in young people may be the result of a stroke.
Memory loss in young people may be the result of a stroke.

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Discussion Comments

anon993859

You are describing a "blackout". It is an indication that the individual is an alcoholic, and occurs with the metabolism of the alcohol in these individuals. Try attending an AA meeting for more understanding of your problem. Some have described blackouts as definite indication of the medical disease alcoholism.

bythewell

@umbra21 - I'd say that was memory loss of things which didn't concern you very much at the time though. I mean, I have that too, where I would like to have more vivid memories of my life but I don't seem to have paid that much attention back then to things I think are important now.

I think, to improve your memory, and maybe even depression, the best thing is to try and live in the moment. If you can focus on what's happening, rather than living in the past or worrying about the future, life will become much more rich and vivid.

umbra21

@Iluviaporos - I have a couple of stories like that but mostly they happened before I learned how to drink properly, so that I didn't get to that point. I think it happens to young people a lot because they drink too fast and then it hits them all at once.

I worry more about the fact that whole sections of my life seem a bit blurry to me because of depression. Apparently depression can cause memory loss in the long term, because you simply don't pay that much attention to what is going on around you.

lluviaporos

I drank a lot when I was at university and I managed to completely blank out a couple of times. Short term memory loss is actually terrifying when you really think about it, but I just brushed it off back then.

One time I woke up in my own bed with my clothes and boots still on and with no idea how I managed to get home from town. I must have taken a taxi, because that amount of money was gone from my wallet but to this day I can't remember what happened.

I'm really glad that I don't still do things like that. It's depressing that it was seen as normal by my group of friends and most young people would probably still see it as normal.

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