When Your Mind Goes Blank
Memory is one of the most fascinating features of the human mind. It allows us to relive past experiences via thoughts and fantasies. Memories are the gateway to our past; without them, we would never be able to recall life as it was previously experienced. Memory is precious and must be preserved for as long as possible.
Therefore, memory preservation should be on everyone’s agenda. Every living person has experienced memory lapses at some point in their lives. There doesn’t always have to be something wrong with your mind in order for you to experience the loss of memory; sometimes it just naturally happens.
But certain people are definitely more vulnerable to experiencing memory loss. For instance, drug addicts and alcoholics are at risk for worsening memory! Marijuana and other drugs affect the hippocampus adversely, resulting in the loss of short-term memory. Illicit drugs also alter the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, making it more difficult to recall memories. Anyone who has smoked marijuana for a while can attest to the fact that their memory and concentration improve upon discontinuation of the drug!
Alcohol adversely affects memory as well. Patients who develop Korsakoff’s syndrome experience a symptom called confabulation. This involves making up stories, events and scenarios in order to fill in for the memory gaps secondary to alcohol damage of the mammillary bodies. The mammillary bodies are responsible for recollective memory.
Your lifestyle also plays a big role in the maintenance of your memory in the long-term. Living a life that involves unhealthy eating, consumption of drugs and alcohol, little to no exercise and poor stimulation of your mind, can cause you to experience premature memory loss.
Lastly, genetics play a role in a lot of peoples’ lives in regards to the development of a mental illness. Mental conditions such as major depression, schizophrenia, substance use disorder and dementia are just some of the illnesses which impact memory adversely. When one is depressed, he or she experiences less drive and interest in recollecting events of the past.
People with schizophrenia actually have hippocampal volume loss, resulting in worsening memory and cognitive function. Cognitive remediation is a form of therapy provided for schizophrenics who experience cognitive dysfunction. And people with dementia experience severe and progress memory loss secondary to continual neuronal loss.
As you can see, there are many reasons why someone may experience memory loss. Unfortunately, there is no cure to combat the culprit genes that are responsible for the mental illnesses which bring upon memory loss. But one can always help slow down, cope with or prevent memory loss by maintaining a healthy and productive lifestyle:
- Consistently eating healthy (i.e.: low fats, low carbs, high protein)
- Consistently getting a good night’s sleep (i.e.: 8-10 hours per night)
- Consistently stimulating your mind by reading, writing, playing chess or brain games
- Consistently exercising (i.e.: exercise helps oxygenate the brain)
- Avoiding excessive alcohol or marijuana use
- Avoiding hard drugs
- Avoiding cigarettes and vaping
- Consistently getting involved in social activities (i.e.: socializing helps to maintain a sound state of mind)
- Avoiding risky sexual behavior which increases your chances of acquiring an STD that can infect your brain (i.e.: syphilis, herpes, HIV)
. . . and the list goes on.
Good memory is an awesome brain tool to maintain! Don’t lose it.
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)