Memory and Amnesia

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Our textbook defines memory as our ability to retain information over time. Some of us have very good memories and can remember tons of the tiniest details. On the other hand, some of us have terrible memories. At any moment you can have your memory seriously damaged by being in an severe accident that can damage your brain and memory.

Amnesia is one of many conditions that could arise from such trauma to the brain. There are two types of amnesia, retrograde and anterograde (Psychology; From Inquiry to Understanding). Retro grade amnesia is where we lose memories from our past. Anterograde is where we lose the ability to form new memories. As stated in our textbook, one myth of amnesia is that most people with amnesia suffer from retrograde amnesia but, in reality, anterograde amnesia is much more common. Also, I believe it to be more difficult to deal with than retrograde amnesia. With that being said how does this type of amnesia affect the people with it and their family and friends?

I thought of this question when I was watching an episode of Private Practice last week. A couple came in for an appointment. As it turned out, the wife is pregnant AND she has anterograde amnesia. She can't form any new memories. She is always surprised by the fact that she is pregnant. Long story short, her husband finds this condition emotionally draining on himself and decides to leave her after they have the baby. He figures that she won't remember anything anyways.

This is just one example of the effects of amnesia on people. Is it morally right? Maybe not. But, regardless stories like this always leave me thinking...what would you do if someone you loved had anterograde amnesia? How would you deal with it?

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This page contains a single entry by schle346 published on October 23, 2011 5:53 PM.

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