It seems fair to say that everyone experiences a bit of stress from time to time, but for some people, it can become so intense that it leads to significant problems. Stress can adversely affect several components of our health and daily functioning. For instance, stressed people are more likely to be susceptible to developing memory problems such as Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia.
What Are Memory Problems?
Memory disorders are a normal part of aging, but memory issues before age 60 may be warning signs of a more serious underlying condition. Memory issues take many forms and can cause significant stress for individuals who may feel unsure about what is happening. It doesn’t help that older adults are often subjected to stereotypes about their ability to remember things, and this can discourage some people from seeking care.
The Causes of Memory Problems
Memory problems are often a symptom of some other health condition. The most common causes of memory issues are psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Other conditions that can cause memory issues include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Kidney disease
- Head trauma
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Drug abuse
According to the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, more than half of all people with Alzheimer’s Disease also suffer from depression or anxiety. This may be the root cause of their memory complications in some cases. While the exact mechanics behind these conditions aren’t fully understood, stress is thought to play a significant part in how these issues develop.
What are the Symptoms of Memory Problems?
The symptoms of memory issues can be pretty varied. Some people may notice a short-term lapse in their ability to remember names or places, while others may struggle with more long-term memory issues that make day-to-day tasks difficult. Memory disorders can sometimes cause a person to develop different behavioural conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and even panic attacks.
The National Institute of Health reports that some of the most common symptoms of memory loss in older adults include:
- Problems retaining new information
- Difficulty learning new information
- Confusion or trouble understanding directions
- Trouble recalling the names of family members and friends
In extreme cases, memory loss can make it challenging to maintain relationships, hold down a job or even perform routine daily activities without assistance. While it is easy to attribute memory issues to aging, several conditions can also cause these symptoms. For instance, depression and anxiety can often mimic the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, so it is helpful to discuss your symptoms with a qualified mental health or medical professional.
How Stress Affects Memory
Stress can have adverse effects on several different elements of your well-being. One of the most common effects that stress has on us is anxiety. When we are under a lot of stress, it can cause our bodies to release stress hormones that make us more reactive and susceptible to illness. These hormones can also make it difficult to sleep, which can lead to even further memory problems.
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Scientists have evidence suggesting that chronic stress and burnout due to physical or emotional issues is a risk factor for serious cognitive declines, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia in elderly adults. People who are stressed out are more likely to have trouble sleeping, which can result in obvious cognitive and memory issues.
Understanding the Impact of Memory Problems
Memory problems can have many different effects on your overall health and well-being. When you are suffering from these stress and other issues, it is easy to feel isolated and frustrated; however, most people who suffer from memory disorders often deal with other health issues that need to be treated. It is important to remember that no one person has the same condition, and unique characteristics impact how each person experiences memory problems.
Impact on the Mind
Memory problems can have a significant impact on your daily life. Many people with memory loss feel like they are “losing their minds” as they struggle to recall proper names or places. When we can’t remember important information and have to ask for help constantly, it can make us feel embarrassed or even ashamed. Without proper treatment, these feelings may exacerbate any underlying conditions that cause memory issues in the first place, making it difficult to get the relief you need.
Impact on the Body
The impact of memory disorders on your body depends on the underlying condition. If you are experiencing extreme symptoms or have a medical condition that is causing your memory problems, this can also significantly affect your overall health. Memory issues may affect your liver function and organs and impact other body systems, such as digestion and circulation. A mental health professional can help determine if there is a correlation between the symptoms you are experiencing and any of these conditions.
Top Tips for Dealing With Memory Problems
All the things we do daily are made easier by our ability to remember. If you are struggling to remember things, it can make simple tasks like placing a name or where you put your keys seem like challenging tasks. There are several ways to deal with memory problems; many don’t involve drugs or invasive procedures. The following tips can be helpful when dealing with memory problems:
The best way to combat memory problems is to stay active. A slow lifestyle can lead to a lack of mental stimulation, which may cause your brain to try finding other things to do which may not be as good for you. By staying busy, you will stimulate your mind, keep it healthy and help ward against the onset of memory problems.
Eating the right things can help improve your memory. Foods high in folic acid and vitamin B12 can incredibly impact your memory, as they are essential for producing new neurons in the brain. Eat foods high in vitamin B9, such as eggs, fish, spinach, mushrooms, and avocados, to ensure you get enough folic acid. Foods containing vitamin B12 include beef, lamb, and chicken, which contain choline, also a vital substance within the body.
Sunlight and fresh air are essential for healthy living as they have many benefits ranging from increased metabolism to better breathing. Getting outside is one of the best things you can do to improve your memory and mood.
Take Up a Hobby
Research has shown that people who keep their minds active by learning new things or engaging in an intellectually stimulating activities have a better memory than those who don’t. There is no limit to the activities you can do to keep your brain in tip-top condition, and you should find something you are passionate about.
Don’t Forget to Relax
The mind and body need a rest from stress, or they will become exhausted, which can lead to memory problems and burnout. Therefore, make sure you take enough time out each day to relax by going for a walk, taking a bath, or participating in other leisurely activities.
Help Available for Memory Problem Sufferers
Memory issues can affect your life in many ways, but help is available. With proper diagnosis and treatment, you can work through the symptoms of memory loss and feel better again. You can seek professional help by speaking with a mental health professional such as a doctor, therapist or stress coach. In addition, many resources for dealing with memory problems and other mental health conditions are available to you through organizations such as Dementia UK  and others.
Memory issues are common, but this doesn’t mean you have to suffer from the symptoms. Treating underlying (medical) conditions and addressing stressors can help improve memory loss issues for many people. It is also important to note that in some cases, depression or anxiety may cause memory loss, and these conditions can often be treated with medication or therapy.
Conquer burnout and stress
Reducing stress and recovering from burnout can be quite the challenge. With the help of our professional coaches, we are convinced that a full recovery is within reach. Our years of experience has taught us what stepping stones will help you reach your goal more effectively and how to make sure the changes you make will be of help to you for the rest of your life. Let’s turn your burnout or stress into your best life ever.
- Dementiauk.org – the specialist dementia nurse charity – Found on 06/02/2023
Link to page on dementiauk.org