11 nasty reasons why we forget

Forgetfulness is a tendency to forget things. (1) Oftentimes referred to as the state of being neglectful, it is when failure to remember happens. (2)

When forgetting does happen and it seems recurrent, like, where you put your keys for the nth time, stay calm. Though you may think your memory lapse may be a sign of cognitive decline, that could just be due to your inattentiveness. Let’s check it out…

Your 2 forgetfulness checkpoints

If you are unable to remember some things, you may begin to think of it as a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease.  But wait a minute!  You may want to examine the situations first.  Here are two simple checkpoints for you:

  • Have you focused enough to get the info into your short-term memory store?
  • Have you rehearsed or repeated enough just so your brain can transfer the info from your short-term to long-term memory store? (Otherwise, it could just be pseudo-forgetting.)

If you answered no to any of the above questions, then again, please worry not.  You just need to pay a little more attention next time. Consider mnemonics.

I have had many instances where I forgot simple things.  In fact, I am using my old reading glasses because I couldn’t remember where I put my new pair (sigh).  I don’t think my brain is deteriorating.  Of course, not (even if I misplaced my specs a million times)!  But I do know that I was multi-tasking, as I always do, like when I blabber with excitement while typing some articles. I sometimes lose track. (Haha… Facetious? Hmm…)

Memory, for all that it does for us every day . . . for all the feats that can sometimes amaze us, can also be a troublemaker.

Daniel Schacter

Common causes of forgetfulness

Common causes of forgetfulness by Dr. Zulfiquar Ahmed, on YouTube

In high school, I memorized multiple dance steps in the shortest period of time. I was absent when my classmates did the 1st and 2nd rehearsals so I had to instantly learn our presentation before the next class began. It was a success.

Years flew by and in 2016, I joined an advanced hip-hop class and found out – a bit amazed (duh) – that I can no longer recall new dance steps (sigh). While the “twenteens” mastered the moves in 15-or-so minutes, I felt like I no longer have the talent . . . or the fresh neurons that will wire that dang thing up in my deteriorating aging brain. SMH.

Now, here are the common causes of forgetfulness…

  1. Lack of sleep
  2. Dehydration
  3. Too much alcohol
  4. Chronic stress
  5. Anxiety
  6. Depression
  7. Isolation
  8. Some medication
  9. Hypothyroidism
  10. Hyperthyroidism
  11. Aging

Lack of sleep

The well-known brain researcher and so-called sleep evangelist, Matthew Walker explains in his book, Why We Sleep: Unlocking The Power of Sleep And Dreams, that sleep can prevent diabetes that may damage nerves in the brain due to high insulin levels.  The sleep expert from UC Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab also reveals that 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night can be powerful means to improve our bodies, including our brain function.

Too much alcohol

Anything that drowses, including alcohol, will cause you to be inattentive, such that your memory functions weaken.

Chronic stress

Having to deal with overwhelming stress, such as personal responsibilities, may wear you and your brain down.  Dwelling on a past sad event may make you uninterested of the present situation.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal part of our lives but too much of it may affect your psychological well-being. It may result to excessive nervousness and worry that may affect your mental health overtime.

Depression

Depression is the cousin of anxiety.

“Forgetfulness can also be a sign of depression—or a consequence of it.” If you are depressed, you will produce less serotonin and that will make you less attentive.

Depressed people may have the tendency to isolate themselves from the rest of the world.  People, especially old folks, who do not want to mingle or socialize anymore tend to have a faster rate of mental deterioration.

Some medication

Some medications, like sedatives, anti-depresants, blood pressure drugs, including those prescribed by your doctor, may have amnesic side effects.  Please be cautious when propping a pill and certainly let your doctor know of any concern.

Hypothyroidism

Under-active thyroid may disturb sleep and cause depression, too.

Studies have shown that there is a link between subclinical hypothyroidism and mild cognitive impairment, specifically the *working memory* and *executive function*.

“Thyroid hormone regulates metabolism in every organ of the body, including the brain. When thyroid hormone is low, it can affect your memory span and ability to concentrate.

Hyperthyroidism

Just like hypothyroidism, overactive thyroid can also hurt your memory function.  Anxiety, as the result of too much thyroid hormones, may…

Studies have also shown that “there is a strong body of evidence to support the association between subclinical hyperthyroidism and cognitive impairment.”  Neuroscientists are yet to discover its “clear mechanistic associations” and any evidence that will “prevent or improve cognitive decline” by administering antithyroid measures on older people.

References:
(1) Forgetfulness [Def. 1]. (n.d.). In Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries. Retrieved June 25, 2019 from https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/english/forgetfulness.
(2) Forgetful [Def. 2]. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster. Retrieved June 25, 2019 from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/forgetfulness.
(3) Murray, Bridget. 2003, October. The seven sins of memory. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/oct03/sins.

– Pendick, D.  (2018, April 05).  7 common causes of forgetfulness.  Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/7-common-causes-of-forgetfulness-201302225923.
– Gan, E. H. and Pearce, S. H. S. (2012, August 3). The Thyroid in Mind: Cognitive Function and Low Thyrotropin in Older People. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3496329/.
– Suszynski, M. (2016, April 07). 9 Ways to Improve Your Memory If You Have Hypothyroidism.

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