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Forgetfulness, a growing problem

health-and-fitness Updated: May 10, 2010 14:10 IST
Chetna Joshi Bambroo
Chetna Joshi Bambroo
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

ThinkingYour wife may forgive you for forgetting the date of your anniversary, thinking it to be a trait of men in general, but you may not be lucky enough if your forgetfulness start affecting your day-to-day life.

“Forgetfulness has become a common problem among young people nowadays,” says psychiatrist Sameer Parikh, adding, “The most common reason being the inability to sustain attention and concentration thereby not having an adequate registration of cues in the memory banks.”

Cause of forgetfulness: If you don’t have any medical history then reasons like stressful lifestyle, the need to do too many things at a time, depression, grief, terror, shock and anxiety can lead to temporary forgetfulness among youngsters.

How does it affect your memory? Primarily stress playing a major role in depleting one’s memory, leads to poor sleep-awake patterns, substance use, lack of time for ones own self; all these have an impact on our cognitive functions (the process of thought).

What to do? Improve lifestyle, do not have long hours at any tasks, take multiple breaks, and work on focus and motivation.

Can the problem aggravate? In some cases, it could be secondary to other problems like psychiatry and neurological disorders. So if basic lifestyle corrections don't help, an expert advice should be taken. Do medicines help? Supplements of folic acid can improve memory function of people at risk of cognitive decline associated with ageing or dementia. Medications should be taken only when prescribed by an expert.

With inputs from Sameer Parikh, psychiatrist, MAX hospital

Tips to overcome forgetfulness:

Manage day-to-day stress: Young, active people usually attribute forgetfulness to external causes such as work stress or family issues.

Take control on smoking and drinking: Heavy drinkers find it very difficult to remember even simple tasks.

Take care of nutritional requirements: Nutritional deficiencies result in the brain being starved of nutrients. Good nutrition helps in maintaining brain health.

Use nutrition supplements: Many nutrients have been indicated in improving memory function, as well as preventing or slowing memory decline with age.

Balanced intake of monounsaturated fatty acids has been associated with protection against memory loss. Right diet with a proper balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids (which our body cannot produce and must come from food) helps brain cells to communicate between them easily.

Use of vitamin C or E supplements has been associated with better memory function. It help fight the physical signs of stress.