Community Forum

Short-term Memory Loss

So, I have suffered from short term memory loss for about, I would say, four years now.  I believe it is completely related to when I began having seizures, especially since I went without knowing what was going on for like 2 years and was not treated.  I have issues in school because I cannot retain information, even things as simple as historical dates or the names of my classmates.  I went to have a memory evaluation so I could maybe get some help in regards to exams, but the shrink just said "you have ADD/ADHD, that's why you have some short term memory problems" and he completely belittled me and basically called me a liar.  Now, this does not make sense to me because I've known that I have ADD for years; it was very obvious when I was young.  I've never taken medication because my parents didn't want me to have that giant label on my forehead for my entire life.  I did fine with tests aside from a little anxiety in high school and before; this memory problem is new.  Has anyone else experienced this?  What do you do about it?  I have lost half of my senior year of high school because I started having seizures sometime after I graduated.  What do you all think?


Is it ADD, or is it an appreciation of the multitude of the finer details of the environment? After reading Proust and "Toxic Psychiatry" by Breggin, and having temporal lobe epilepsy, I may be overly skeptical of psychology.

I did have a great memory, with a few problems easily compensated for with simple memory tricks published by Harry Lorraine in his memory books, and then greatly enhanced with techniques in "Remembrance of Things Past" by Marcel Proust (which really helped in all of my college classes). At times epilepsy will improve memory, but it is generally assumed to damage memory; it has been both ways with me. One strong seizure erased in an instant my memory for the notations for tensors in differential geometry after I had been studying it for weeks!

The Dilantin I'm taking now really interferes with my short term memory, and I have to rely on copious notes; forming new long term memories is proving difficult too, and this has slowed my reading down, from reading a couple books a week, to taking a couple months to read a book, if I want to remember it well. One seizure was so bad that I was rereading War and Peace in a new translation, and I am still stuck in the middle of it; with a third translation of it by Pevear and Volokhonsky still waiting!

One of my vocational counselors told me my memory was bad, yet it was still better than his, and this irked him to no end. Oh well!

Good Luck!

Oh, it's ADD for sure, haha, I've learned to mellow out and control myself just through discipline over the years, though.   Anyways, so do memory books really help?  I may look into that, although I can't while I'm in school because I do not have the time =/  It is so frustrating to have to write down every tiny detail of life, especially since half the time I forget to bring my little notepad with me.  Ironic, yeah? are not alone, i have them as well, somoene could be ask me a question, and i'd forget in 2 minutes...i started noticing it more this summer ...i probably started doing it about a year ago. but wasnt noticeable til the end of july/aug.

    I also thought it may be a side affect of Keppra, i was on that for about a month, till my Neuro changed it, i was diagnosed this summer with Generalized Tonic Clonic Epilepsy.  I also lose my balance when i have these seizures,  also could be talking to someone on the phone or in person and totally forget who i was talkin to ?...or their names. Weird huh?...some times i would try to call someone, and forget who was trying to call! dr believes i ve had a birth injury, but my mom says no..she doesnt recall that ever happening after giving birth to me. but sometimes i wonder if my mom even remembers, half the time mom doesnt remember which child did what? i dont know.

    Theirs not much you can do about losing your short term memory, my dr says, the more u have seizures, the more you lose memory. i've done very well on Depakote Er?...what meds are you on? are u even seeing a Neuro?...if so?...ask ur neuro what you can do about it?, they may suggest taking a vitamin for memory...but dont take anything w/consulting ur dr first. ok??? i hope i helped you! long have u had epilepsy? i'm newly diagnosed.

Hey.  I started having seizures shortly after high school (mid-2004) but didn't have any idea what was going on so I tried to ignore them until they started getting scary and I noticed dramatic changes in my short term memory.  I talked to a regular doc. first, who sent me first to see my neurologist I had as a little child (when I had febral seizures) and from there (because he was more of a doctor for children) I was sent to Dr. Linda Wray, a neurologist in my area.  My short term memory problem got so frustrating that I decided to first talk to the disability resource center counselor at my college, who told me to talk to my neurologist, Dr Wray then sent me to see a psychiatrist for a memory evaluation.  The shrink, I believe, got it horribly wrong.  I should ask about vitamins; I currently take a multi vitamin for women, and iron because my system has been depleted from various things, (a lot of times prescription drugs will deplete your system of various nutrients and vitamins.)  And I've always been anemic for some reason, so I take iron to supplement my diet.  I wasn't ever injured badly as a baby or child, I just was lucky enough to have grand mal febral seizures starting around 6 months (according to my folks) until just before I started kindergarten.  I'm still usually a little warmer than normal people, average temperature for me is about 99.8 degrees or so.

Anyways, thank you for your advice.  I'll ask my neuro. about vitamins that may help.


Rachel, you're not alone. I have short-term memory loss also and have been having seizures for more years than I want to admit. I talked with my doctor about it and he told me that short term memory loss and seizures go together and that it was normal with anyone that has seizures.  So don't worry about it. As was suggested, talk with your doctor and he can advise you on what, if anything, to take that will help it. Good luck!

I kind of figured it was just an inevitable consequence of having seizures, but the problem is that it's so damn frustrating and interferes so much with my life.  I'm not quite 23 years old and my memory is about as good as my 76 year old grandma.  Not fair, yeah? =/

Yeah, you're right. It's not fair especially having memory problems at your age but, hang in there and don't let it get you down. You'll do fine! I know it's easier said than done but it can be done. Good luck!

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