Symptoms | Amnesia


The person concerned reports that he or she can no longer remember certain events of the day. Depending on whether the amnesia occurred before, after, during, or before and after a triggering event, we speak of retrograde amnesia (no memory of things before the event), anterograde amnesia (no memory of things after the event), or global amnesia, in which there is a memory deficit both before and after a triggering event. The consciousness of a corresponding person can appear normal in the period of time that is not remembered afterwards, but if the brain is affected accordingly, the current consciousness is often also disturbed. Motor manual skills (walking, cycling) can be exercised by the person even if his or her consciousness is partially impaired.


Amnesia can usually only be diagnosed by asking a patient whether he or she has noticed any gaps in his or her memory and whether there were any triggering factors. A third-party anamnesis (questioning of third parties) can complete the assessment of whether the patient has certain deficits in memory despite (partial) consciousness.

Therapy and prophylaxis

As a rule, the episode of amnesia is limited, which is why direct therapy is neither possible nor necessary. Only the disturbance or disease causing it can be sought, treated or avoided, such as epilepsy, symptoms of poisoning and other brain diseases.

Can amnesia go away?

Whether amnesia in a patient is permanent is primarily determined by the cause of the amnesia. If the patient has dementia, the memory loss will continue to progress. After a mild head injury, amnesia is often only temporary and memory returns.

In the case of brain haemorrhages or tumours, the nerve tissue must be relieved of mechanical pressure, which often leads to an improvement in amnesia. Memory training can help to activate other areas of the brain to compensate for the loss of function. However, if there has been a widespread death of nerve cells, the amnesia is often permanent. There is then no cure.