Memory Loss for Stress: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

The memory loss is due to stress  can have various causes, but one of the most common is the stress of everyday life, which together with depression and lack of sleep, make up the biggest enemies to our ability to retain information.

In some cases it is thought that the person may be suffering from a neurodegenerative disease so it is very important to make an appropriate differential diagnosis.

Memory Loss stress

As the neurologist Merced Broadax explains “In order to retain information, one must be alert, alert, vigilant, and thus be able to start an action and finish it. This attention-concentration situation is related to the psycho-affective state. “

Memory Loss stress

When evaluating adults with memory problems, it is observed that most of them do not present deficits in pure memory tests, but in those of attention-concentration, which secondarily will produce a loss of memory.

The stress, the insomnia, the anxiety or depression is the underlying causes often with memory problems”

Symptoms of memory loss

Loss of memory due to stress can be of different types:

  • Simple forgotten, everyday life and in principle have little importance. They can be from leaving the keys at home, to forget where we left some object or utensil.
  • Forgotten more complicated. In this case there may be memory leaks that affect the memory of family names or addresses to which we turn in the usual way.
  • More severe forgetfulness. These are the ones that can appear following situations of deep stress or chronic stress. After a traumatic event or very stressful situation can cause very serious memory losses. For example not remembering specific episodes of our life, or even forget how to write our name.

When we talk about memory loss due to stress, the most frequent typology is that of the first case. They are usually little day-to-day forgetfulness that does not have serious consequences but does produce discomfort in the person who is aware of being suffering from these gaps.

Other symptoms

In addition to memory loss, stress produces many other symptoms and consequences. On many occasions the person who is suffering from chronic stress is not aware of suffering from it.

The demands of daily life, the multiple tasks we have to perform and the high expectations with ourselves can lead us to suffer from chronic stress.

In addition to affecting our memory and concentration appear a series of symptoms that can help us to identify it. Knowing that we are in a state of stress is necessary to begin to remedy it.

Some of the symptoms that appear to be derived from stress are:

  1. Alterations in sleep. Nightmares often appear, wake up at midnight or have difficulty falling asleep.
  2. Abdominal pains and digestive problems. Irritable bowel, nausea, vomiting and frequent diarrhea may occur.
  3. Migraines and headaches.
  4. Muscle contractures. There are often pains in the back and cervical area which in many cases is related to headaches.
  5. They lower the defenses which makes contagious diseases more likely to appear.
  6. Changes in mood. They are irritable at times and at other times with low mood and depression.
  7. Hypertension may occur, which is a risk for people with heart problems.


In 2013, an investigation carried out by the Center for Biomedical Research in the Network of Rare Diseases and Hospital Sent Pau in Barcelona revealed the reason why chronic stress can generate memory losses.

Using magnetic resonance imaging techniques in patients with Cushing’s syndrome, a rare disease in which the body generates an excess of stress hormone cortical, they found that there was a reduction of gray matter in the brain area of ​​the brain. Hippocampus of these people.

This loss of gray matter is responsible for short- and long-term memory losses. In addition, it is shown that these damages are irreversible because the people with whom the research was done were already cured.

Another case of memory loss due to stress is the so-called dissociative amnesia. It is an episode of sudden inability to recall important personal information, almost always autobiographical.

It also appears suddenly and abruptly and almost always appears after a highly stressful event. Although the person cannot remember people or stages of his own life, this loss of memory does not necessarily interfere with his normal functioning, since he does not lose the language or other knowledge necessary for daily life.

This type of amnesia disappears in the same way that it appeared, that is, abruptly and spontaneously.

Causes of stress

Stress does not affect all people equally, and at the same level of demand or the same lifestyle, not all individuals suffer. It is important to keep in mind that the way each one faces these situations or the predisposition that has will be decisive when suffering from chronic stress or not.

Also Read: Types of Stress and Risk Factors

Taking into account the above, some of the causes that can cause this type of chronic stress and therefore the memory losses are:

  • Excessive tasks and lack of organization. In many cases the main problem does not have to perform many activities or overwork, but a poor organization of the time that is available.
  • Sedentary lifestyle and poor diet. Neglecting our bodies and our food contributes to stress. With proper diet and regular exercise you can counteract the effects of stress and reduce its damage.
  • Do not rest properly. Not only in reference to sleeping the number of hours needed, but to disconnect from work or the focus that causes us discomfort.

On many occasions after work we are still on the move or turning the problem that we have to solve at work. But this far from being of help prevents us from mentally relaxing these tasks and then retaking them with more lucidity.


First, we must lower the level of stress as this is what is causing memory loss in addition to other symptoms.

To treat stress properly, in many cases it is necessary to go to a professional to help us and guide us. A professional will not only treat the symptoms but will help us to look for the causes that produce it and thus be able to solve the root problem.

On the other hand, we can also implement a series of guidelines in our day to day to neutralize or reduce stress:

To sleep and to rest the necessary time

It is essential to sleep properly to maintain a healthy and healthy life. Not resting enough causes lack of concentration contributes to memory loss and also makes us more irritable which can generate problems and discussions with people around us.


Keeping active is another key factor for a healthy life. In addition it will help us to stay focused and rest from the daily worries because during the practice of the sport we distract ourselves and keep our head occupied. At the physical level, the practice of sports causes the release of endorphins which causes a feeling of euphoria and well-being.

Use relaxation techniques

There are different techniques of meditation; practicing meditation, yoga, mindfulness, abdominal breathing, etc. You can learn about the different ways to practice relaxation to use the one that best suits your needs or the one that is simpler to practice.

Caring for food

It is very important to have a balanced and healthy diet. When we have a lot of worries and stress it is common to overeat and also products that are not the most appropriate for our body (sweets, fast food, prepared food, etc.). Therefore, we must take special care with the diet that we follow at those moments.

Practice activities that make you feel good and help distract you

Tasks like writing, drawing, listening to music, watching a movie, etc. Practicing such an activity can help us distract ourselves and focus on a task other than the one that keeps us preoccupied. For example, art therapy is a recommended activity.

Many times our mind needs to stop and disconnect from all the avalanche of tasks, demands and worries that are causing us stress. These activities will help us to disconnect and spend a few relaxed and quiet minutes.

Focus on the now

To think continuously about the past and the future is one of the reasons that more anxiety and stress can generate us. If we assume that the past is gone and that the future cannot predict or control, we have to focus on the present, on what is happening now.

If we focus on the task we are doing right now, we will not only do it more effectively, but we will clear our minds of the concern for what will come and reduce the level of uncertainty that causes us so much malaise.

When the future arrives and we have to face it, we will find a way to do it as properly as possible.

Maintain an active social life

Relating to other people, spending time with friends or talking to someone you trust are some of the things that can bring us greater welfare.

In addition again, it is an activity that distances us from everything that worries us so much and that is generating the discomfort.

Strategies to combat memory loss

In addition to implementing previous guidelines that will combat stress, which is the main source of memory loss, we can use other strategies to directly assist in these gaps or memory failures.

  1. In the first place it is important to know why these memory problems are occurring, which are due to a situation of acute stress and which are punctual. If we think that these problems of memory are going to be always present we can generate a greater preoccupation becoming a vicious circle of which it costs us much to leave.
  2. Help yourself to an agenda, notes, and mobile, to write everything you think you could forget. At the moment you have it pointed you can forget it and leave room for other tasks or to concentrate on the task without having to remember from time to time that you have other things to do.
  3. Organize your time in the way that is right for you. Divide the tasks that you have to perform in those that are more and less important. Also in those that are urgent to make them in the first place and those that can wait.

It is recommended that you do the tasks one at a time (for example, first I will do the report that was asked yesterday, when I finish it I will start with the planning of this week, and then I will look for the information for the next report, etc.) This way until you do not finish one task you do not start with the next one, that you keep it away until that moment arrives.

Trying to do several tasks at once or leaving one half to finish to tackle another only contributes to generate uncontrolled and stress.

As we have said before, if after implementing these guidelines memory losses continue, it is advisable to contact a professional who can guide and advise us.




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