What Causes Memory Loss and Forgetfulness


Do you find yourself getting more forgetful lately ? Or people around you have been complaining that you are getting more forgetful and having short term memory loss?

Have you ever found yourself in this situation :

  • You find yourself always looking for your misplaced keys, wallets?
  • You keep looking for your spectacles but it’s actually on top of your head
  • You forgot what you wanted to say in the middle of a sentence
  • People accuse you of saying things in a recent conversation which you did not even remember saying
  • You go to the store but you forgot what you came to buy
  • You forgot your appointment..again


Some level of forgetfulness has happened to all of us, especially after our 40s. But if the forgetfulness is getting more frequent or getting worst, it may be a sign of memory loss or mild cognitive impairment. These may be an early sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s.


So, what causes short term memory loss and forgetfulness?


Agingwhat causes memory loss and forgetfulness

This is one of the most common causes of forgetfulness. As we grow older, we tend to find it harder to remember things, names and events . But if it gets to a point that it is getting worst rapidly, you should get yourself checked by a doctor.

Alzheimer’s And Dementia

what causes memory loss and forgetfulness

Dementia is a severe form of memory loss that interferes with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, but there are many other kinds.

Dementia occurs when there is a sudden or gradual lack of blood circulation into the brain, for example in a stroke or a brain injury. Dementia also occurs due to gradual brain cell death, why that happens still remains a medical mystery.


Lack of Sleep

What Causes Memory Loss and Forgetfulness

When we get enough sleep during the night, our body is able to rest and our brain is able to learn and process new information and form new memories. However, lack of sleep or lack of a good night rest affects our ability to learn and retain new information. This makes us easily forget things we did or said.


What Causes Memory Loss and Forgetfulness

Taking certain medication long term may affect your memory and make you more forgetful.

Common medication for allergies and flu, for example Clarityne (loratidine) and anti-gastric medication, for example Tagamet (cimetidine) if taken for long term may cause minor short term memory loss.

Here are some examples of common medicine that may cause minor memory loss if taken for long term :

  • Painkillers – Naproxen, Codeine, Morphine
  • Antidepressants – Xanax (Alprazolam), Valium (Diazepam) , Ativan (Lorazepam)
  • Sleeping pills – Ambien (Zolpidem)
  • Steroids
  • Certain antibiotics (quinonlone group)
  • Cholesterol lowering drugs – Lipitor (Atrovastatin) , Crestor (Rosuvastatin)
  • Anti-histamines for allergy – Clarityne (Loratidine) , Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
  • Anti-gastric medicine – Tagamet (Cimetidine) , Zantac (Rantidine)
  • Epilepsy drugs – Dilantin (phenytoin)
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Beta-blocker Blood pressure medication – Tenormin (Atenolol) , Inderal (Propanolol), Metoprolol

Hormone Problems

Short term memory loss and forgetfulness is also caused by hypothyroidism, a condition when your body’s thyroid hormones goes extremely low. Normally people with hypothyroidism gain a lot of weight, get cold or hot very easily than usual and get easily tired. If you do not have these symptoms, you do not need to worry. If you suspect something is not right with your body, just get yourself a body check with your doctor.


Alcohol Drinking

What Causes Memory Loss and Forgetfulness

Have you ever gone drinking with your friends, told yourself you only would take one jug but ended up drinking more than you should ? And you wake up the next morning, with a massive headache feeling so groggy ?

Heavy drinking of alcohol may affect your brain by affecting your concentration and also makes your hard to remember things and may cause minor memory loss.

Lack of Vitamin B

what causes memory loss and forgetfulness

Vitamin B12 is a much needed ingredient for maintaining healthy brain functions. Studies of shown that shortage of Vitamin B12 in our body will cause memory loss. As we grow older, our body’s ability to absorb Vitamin B12 from our normal diet decreases, resulting in low Vitamin B12 in our body. This slows down our ability to maintain memories and remember stuff.

Stress and Anxiety

What Causes Memory Loss and Forgetfulness


Does this sound familiar to you :

Your boss or colleagues keep rushing you to finish your project but you are not ready.

You struggle to find ways to make more money for your family.

You work so hard but you are never good enough.

You are late but there is a traffic jam.

Your in-laws are coming for a visit, and your house if just never perfect enough.


I have experienced all this stress and handling everything all at one time is a monstrous task. It may be overwhelming at times when everyone wants a piece of you, but you don’t have time to be yourself.

Stress and anxiety in the long term may affect your brain by causing you to lose focus, harder to concentrate and make you more forgetful.

My advice is to take it one step at a time, and only take on what you can, and not what you want.



What Causes Memory Loss and Forgetfulness

Hardly anyone admits they have depression until its too late.

People who are always depressed have poor memory, as depression negatively impacts their brain.

People who are depressed feel :

  • Sad and miserable
  • Hopeless & overwhelmed
  • Lost
  • Frustrated
  • Withdraw from friends and family
  • That the whole world is against them
  • and think about suicide

If you sense that your loved ones or friends have these symptoms, please listen to them and help them get back into their own self. Emotional support is important for them to get themselves back on their feet .


How To Prevent Memory Loss & Forgetfulness

What Causes Memory Loss and Forgetfulness

If you think that memory problem is getting worst, or your close ones’ memory is deteriorating , please do something about it. Doing nothing makes the problem worst, and may lead to dementia or Alzheimers. Without an arm we still can go about our daily tasks, but with a poor functioning brain, nothing gets done.

You can go to a doctor for a full body checkup regularly or consult your doctor regarding your medications.

You can try to reduce stress and anxiety, or try to climb out of depression.

But the best way would be to take a good supplement to prevent further memory loss and to maintain your brain’s health.

In my next article, I wrote a guide for choosing the Best Memory Supplements. (read more here)


Best Memory Supplements In The Market

  • Citicoline – important nutrient to the brain, reverses brain damage
  • Gingko Biloba – improves blood circulation to the brain
  • Bacopa – improves concentration and memory power
  • Huperzine A – prevents the breakdown of brain’s neurotransmitters
  • Vinpocetine – enhances memory
  • Vitamin B6 & B12 – needed to maintain healthy brain nerves

You can either take these supplements individually or as a combination in one pill, which would be more convenient. The combination of all these supplements in one pill is available with Brain Pill. 


What’s your thoughts in memory loss and forgetfulness ? Please leave your comments in the comment box below.


Jacky Kong
Jacky Kong

Health Blogger

    2 replies to "What Causes Memory Loss and Forgetfulness"

    • Cliff

      Nice article on memory loss. It is important that people realize the possible causes behind. I like how you mentioned alcohol consumption, medication, and stress/anxiety. Being possible culprits sometimes people do not think about these factors. Bringing the up puts people in a position to think about it and ask, is this why? I like your supplement recommendation as well, I take gingko biloba myself.

      • Jacky Kong

        Hi Cliff , 

        Thanks for your kind comments . Most people only assume we are getting forgetful due to old age but there are many other factors in there that makes us lose our memory faster than we should . Glad to share this knowledge with you.

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