Everyone experiences forgetfulness. It is a natural part of life. When we have too many things on our minds or when we are feeling pressured from family, friends and co-workers, we often forget.
Even the simplest thought – what we had for dinner last night – becomes a blur. Keys are misplaced and we forget where we parked the car.
As we age, this forgetfulness may increase slightly. It is a normal process of aging. How do we know, then, when forgetfulness indicates a more serious problem such as depression or Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders?
Signs of Alzheimer Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is progressive. It gets worse over time. Memory lapses become more frequent. Notes to ourselves become less effective. Memory loss begins to interfere with day to day activities. Only your doctor can determine if your confusion indicates a more serious memory 1oss other than age-related.
The following warning signs will help you to know what to look for in determining whether or not your loved one may have Alzheimer disease or other dementia illness. If you check several items, see your physician for a complete examination:
- car accidents
- change in personality
- loss of several hours
- difficulty remembering time and place
- problems at work
- unable to balance checkbook
- placing items in inappropriate places
- unable to recognize familiar faces
- difficulty performing everyday tasks
- poor or decreased judgment
- problems with abstract thinking
Other Symptoms Caused by Forgetfulness
Forgetfulness may also be due to stress. No one is immune from stress. Anyone at any age can experience stress. Burnout, which can result from chronic or extreme stress, has been blamed for costing the North American economy $200 billion a year.
One major car company pays as much for stress and burnout as it does for steel.
The effects of burnout are devastating to families. We only have to look at drug abuse, alcoholism, spouse and child abuse, suicides and other self abuse to see evidence of people who have lost their self control and perhaps, self-love.
How do you know if your forgetfulness is due to stress? Look around What is happening in your life? Did you recently go back to school while holding a full time job? Did your son or daughter recently get divorced? Are you worried about finances? All of these scenarios cause stress.
In some cases, our response to this stress may be insomnia and loss of sleep.
Other times, we may find ourselves irritable or fatigued. And, of course, another reaction may be forgetfulness. In this case, if you eliminate the stress (or develop strategies for coping) you will eliminate the forgetfulness.