Amnestic Disorder

(Also Known As: Memory Loss, Senility, Amnesia, Alcohol Induced Persisting Amnestic Disorder)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Amnestic Disorder?

Amnestic disorder is a condition of loss of established past memories and the person’s inability to form new memories and learn new information. The main characteristics of amnestic disorder are ones that involve the memory processing with variable ranges of symptom severity. Amnestic Disorder consists of either an anterograde or retrograde amnesia. The former involves the inability of a person to retain new memories and learning new facts but is able to remember events in the past and know their identity. Retrograde amnesia involves the loss of memory retention of the events in the past that occurred prior to the onset of the disorder.

Amnestic disorder is a mental impairment or disorder that involves the inability to process new information and/or the failure to recall past memories and information. Persons with amnestic disorder often refuse to recall previously learned information and experiences leading to difficulties in their social or occupational activities. Symptoms of Amnestic Disorder are not typically associated with delirium or dementia. 1

The causes of amnestic disorder can be due to physiologic effects acquired from a general medical condition, drug abuse or toxin exposure. 2 There are three diagnostic categories of amnestic disorder as follow:

Amnestic Disorder Due to a General Medical Condition – the condition is due to the direct physiological effects of various general medical conditions such as stroke, closed-head trauma, herpes simplex encephalitis, anoxia, and hypoglycemia.

Substance-Induced Persisting Amnestic Disorder – substances such as alcohol, sedatives, anxiolytics, and hypnotics can emulate the occurrence of the condition.

Amnestic Disorder Not Otherwise Specified – any amnestic disorder which causes do not come from the fundamental categories specified from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual is designated under this category.

Amnestic Disorder is noticeable when a person has difficulty remembering events in the past or creating new memories. The person who suffers from Amnestic Disorder can maintain conversations except when associated with a medical condition such as a stroke that affects their motor ability to speak.

Amnestic Disorder may also involve the substance of time by which the condition started occurring. The more common is Anterograde amnesia. Such condition hinders the affected individual to establish new learning memories after the condition surfaced. Retrograde amnesia can also occur where there is the loss of memory about the events that occurred in the past before one sustained the condition.

Could You Have Amnestic Disorder?

Amnestic Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Dissociative Amnesia – functional amnesia, retrograde amnesia, anterograde amnesia, inability to recall of personal identity, dissociative fugue
Dissociative Identity Disorder – multiple personality disorder, memory loss, multiple distinct characters