Treatment for Amnesia

There's no specific treatment for amnesia, but depending on the cause, the symptoms often improve over time. If the amnesia 124, results from a mild concussion, most of the lost memory will grad ually return. In more severe traumatic brain injuries, the reinstatement of memory for events that occurred prior to the injury is referred to as a shrinking retrograde amnesia. However, memories formed just before and soon after the damage occurred are usually lost forever. The more severe the traumatic brain injury, the more significant the degree of persistent memory impairment.

With other causes of amnesia, the prospects for improvement also depend on the severity of the problem. Once a patient with thiamine deficiency and chronic alcoholism has crossed the threshold into Korsakoff's syndrome, deficits tend to be enduring. However, people with alcohol-related memory impairment that has not progressed to Korsakoff's can regain a substantial degree of memory function if they stop consuming alcohol, improve their diet, and remediate vitamin deficiency.

People with psychogenic amnesia can recover their memory function, sometimes with the help of psychotherapy that supports self-awareness and insight. But as I discussed in Chapter 3, the concept of recovered memories is controversial. There are legions of quack practitioners who claim to have recovered repressed memories using a heavy-handed, agenda-driven approach when in fact they probably created and implanted ten false traumatic memories for every one bona fide recovered memory.

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