Memory problems can appear when we are still young and may have different origins. Discover its main causes and how to address them.
Memory problems usually don’t bother us until we reach a certain age. We take its efficient operation for granted and assume that we will not have clinically significant failures unless we develop some form of dementia.
However, many people begin to experience memory problems in their 40s and even earlier and wonder if they need to seek help.
Actually, it is recommended that we be aware that the functioning of our memory can fluctuate for various reasons, some natural and others pathological.
In any case, with our actions, we can prevent or solve many of these problems. Therefore, we tell you what the main causes are and what you can do about it.
Main causes of memory problems
For some time now, you have noticed that you have become more absent-minded and disorganized.
You forget your keys, your mobile, or your shopping list, you have trouble remembering names or you have missed some appointments due to forgetfulness. What is happening to you? Should you worry?
The answer is difficult to determine, but probably your difficulties are due to one of the following reasons.
1. The passage of time
This is one of the factors that have the most weight, and it has been found that memory usually reaches its peak in the 20s and, from this moment, begins to decline. Thus, even if you have years left to become part of what we call old age, you may begin to notice certain difficulties that did not exist before.
It is not only that now it costs you more to learn a language or study a theoretical subject, you can also feel an effect in your daily activities.
Keep in mind that two processes stand out in memory:
- Coding and storage of information. It is produced by receiving the data and processing it in such a way that it goes into long-term memory.
- The recovery of information. It occurs when we try to access the contents that we have stored in memory.
With age, both processes become more complicated. On the one hand, we may need the information to be repeated in order to encode it. On the other hand, recovery may take longer and we may need a clue. In any case, these are natural processes that should not worry you.
2. Lack of attention
Sometimes what appears to be memory problems are actually the result of a lack of attention. We are not talking about a disorder like ADHD, but about an accelerated and hurried lifestyle that does not allow us to really pay attention to what we are doing.
Sometimes, in a rush, we overlook important day-to-day data that, therefore, we do not manage to code properly.
If you forgot that your partner asked you to buy milk, or that your son told you he needed a costume, maybe it’s because at the time of the conversation you were a thousand tasks away and you didn’t pay enough attention.
3. Organic diseases
Certain diseases, such as thyroid, kidney, and liver disorders, can be behind memory problems. Likewise, a lack of vitamins B12, B6, and B9 caused by a poor diet can also be an important factor.
4. Substance or medication use
There is enough evidence to prove the effects that drugs can have on cognitive abilities, including memory.
However, alcohol (no matter how normalized its consumption is) can also seriously affect it if it is not consumed in moderation; not only causing transitory effects but generating long-term damage.
The consumption of certain medications (anxiolytics, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, cholesterol drugs…) can also interfere with memory function.
5. Emotional problems
When everyday situations overwhelm us and we fail to manage emotions properly, memory can be affected.
For example, if we suffer from a high level of stress, live in a conflictive environment, or are facing a duel, it is logical that our mental capacities are not at their optimum point.
Likewise, anxiety disorders, depression, and other mental pathologies can cause difficulties in encoding or retrieving information.
6. Cognitive impairment and dementia
Sometimes people have mild cognitive impairment that does not progress, but in many cases, it ends up leading to dementia.