A concussion can cause a variety of symptoms, some more serious than others. When a head injury leaves you struggling with memory loss, you will likely feel concerned and frustrated. Understanding how concussions can lead to memory loss helps protect your health and your finances after an accident.
After a concussion, you might face high medical bills and find it hard to continue working. If you’re struggling with the financial impact of concussion-related memory loss, consult a brain injury lawyer to learn more about recovering compensation.
How Concussions Can Cause Memory Loss
Concussions are often thought of as a form of disorientation that occurs after being hit in the head. While this is true, a concussion is a bit more complicated than that.
In medical terms, a concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Any time your brain is injured, you are at risk of experiencing cognitive issues like memory loss.
How the brain stores and retrieves memories is a complex process. It’s governed by the brain’s limbic system, which includes the amygdala, hippocampus, and hypothalamus. These parts of the brain work together to store, order, and recall memories.
After a brain injury, your brain’s nerve cells and tissues cannot work as they normally do. If the injured tissues play a role in memory, you could experience changes in how your memory works.
How Common Is Concussion-Related Memory Loss?
Understanding the impact of a concussion is made easier when you have a clear understanding of what this type of injury does to the brain.
Brain injuries are divided into three levels of severity: mild, moderate, and severe. Concussions (mild brain injuries) are the most common type. They are diagnosed when the injured person suffers a blow to the head but does not lose consciousness.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that close to 4 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur each year, many of which go untreated. That estimate doesn’t include the many concussions that occur in other incidents, like workplace accidents or car accidents.
The effects of concussions are usually temporary. They can produce a number of different symptoms, including memory loss. Most of the time, concussion symptoms decrease within a week or two of the injury. However, some people experience additional health complications or struggle with troublesome symptoms that linger for weeks or months.
Types of Memory Loss After a Concussion
If you’re not a medical professional, it’s easy to assume that all types of memory loss are the same. However, doctors can tell a lot about how the brain has been injured based on the type of memory loss the injured person experiences.
Memory loss is typically either short-term or long-term. Concussions are more likely to cause short-term memory loss (forgetting more recent memories). In comparison, long-term memory loss is the loss of memories that have been stored in the brain for many years.
Exactly how short-term memory loss occurs with a concussion can differ by person.
Some of the types of memory most commonly impacted by a concussion include:
- Prospective memory: Forgetting future plans or intentions
- Spatial memory: Forgetting directions or where something is located
- Episodic memory: Forgetting specific events or experiences
- Working memory: Inability to hold on to specific pieces of information
Which type of memory is impacted after a concussion depends on the individual and how their brain has been affected by the injury.
When concussion-related memory loss lingers after the accident, it can take a significant toll. Memory loss could impact your daily life in dozens of ways. You might forget directions to your child’s school, forget what items you walked into the grocery store to buy, or have trouble holding on to the information you need to succeed at work or school.
How Concussion-Related Memory Loss Is Treated
Because a concussion is a type of brain injury, it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as you suspect you’ve sustained one. Attempting to carry on with life as normal puts you at risk of serious complications.
Concussion symptoms are primarily treated with rest. There’s little a doctor can do to assist with any specific symptom, such as memory loss.
Once a concussion is diagnosed, treatment typically involves:
- Staying home from work or school
- Avoiding reading or other activities that tax the brain
- Avoiding phones, televisions, and computers
- Keeping lighting dim and noises low
- Avoiding exercise or other strenuous activities
Unfortunately, concussion treatment could involve putting everything from work to household tasks on pause for a week or two. When concussion symptoms worsen or linger, a doctor may instruct you to visit the emergency room for additional testing.
Memory Loss and Other Concussion Symptoms
Concussions happen in any setting, and many different types of accidents can cause them. While it’s most common for a concussion to be caused by the head hitting an object or vice versa, even a sudden jolt can result in a concussion.
Suppose that a driver slams on their brakes while driving. Even if the driver’s head does not strike anything, their brain could be injured when it strikes the inside of their skull.
Any time you hit your head or experience a sudden jolt, you could sustain a concussion.
The most common cognitive symptoms of a concussion to watch for include:
- Memory loss
- Issues with problem-solving
- Impaired sense of judgment
Concussions also commonly produce physical symptoms, including:
- Lack of coordination
- Slurred speech
- Unequal pupil sizes
- Sensitivity to light or sound
If you experience symptoms of a concussion or notice them in a loved one, you should seek emergency medical treatment. In some cases, concussion symptoms indicate a more serious brain injury has occurred.
Call A North County San Diego Brain Injury Attorney Now
A concussion should never be taken lightly, especially when it impacts your memory. Even a mild brain injury can have a significant financial toll due to emergency room costs and lost wages. When there are complications or delayed healing, you might find yourself unable to work for an uncertain amount of time. That’s why you should seek help recovering concussion compensation.
The concussion lawyers at Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers understand the complexities of brain injury cases. We’re proud to hold a strong track record of recovering the compensation our injured clients need after a brain injury takes a financial toll.