7 commons reasons for forgetfulness that have nothing to do with Alzheimer’s

You open your microwave and discover a cup of coffee you reheated – yesterday. Names escape you. And where—for the 1,000th time – did you leave those dang AirPods? It’s normal to be forgetful every once in a while, but if you find yourself battling multiple brain farts daily, it may be time to dig deeper to uncover the cause. Don’t panic: Chronic forgetfulness doesn’t always mean Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, there are a whole host of reasons your memory might be stalling. Find out if one of these could be causing your brain drain.

1. You’re taking a medication that has memory side effects

“If you’re concerned with your memory, one of the first things to do is to review your medication list with your physician,” says Lauren Drag, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist at Stanford Health Care. Several prescription and OTC drugs can mess with your memory, she notes. Topping that list are anticholinergics, which are drugs that interfere with a neurotransmitter in your brain called acetylcholine. Antihistamines like Benadryl, reflux drugs like Zantac, muscle spasms treatments like Flexiril, and depression drugs like Paxil and Elavil are all considered anticholinergics. Other medications to watch for include certain blood pressure drugs, sedatives like Valium, and some pain medications. If you suspect your treatment is to blame for your memory blips, ask your doctor if there’s an alternative worth considering.

2. You’re struggling with depression

When you’re in a mental funk, it’s hard to focus on what’s in front of you – which makes recalling it later virtually impossible. Depression may actually reshape certain parts of your brain, says Drag. “Research suggests that it can be associated with changes in the size and functioning of brain regions that are important to skills such as memory, the speed at which we think, attention, and problem-solving ability.”

3. You’re drinking too much

You know booze muddles your mind while you’re drinking, but it can also make heavy drinkers forgetful after they’ve dried out. “Interestingly, research has shown that sobriety can lead to a temporary worsening in memory and thinking, as you go through a detox period,” says Drag. Some people – mainly life-long alcohol abusers – might never get their sharpness back. But most people can expect the fog of forgetfulness to eventually lift, says Drag, though it can take anywhere from weeks to months.

4. Your tension level is through the roof

Stress distracts your brain when it should be memorizing information. That’s why a phone number you’ve just been told can escape you before you even have time to pull the phone out of your pocket and dial. In the short-term, “someone who is feeling anxious can have difficulty following a conversation because he or she is ruminating over a worrisome topic,” says Drag. And chronic, severe stress is even worse. “It can have a significant impact on the brain, presumably through long-term exposure to hormones that are released during periods of stress,” she explains. Even the everyday hassle of managing household bills and busy schedules can chip away at your memory skills. “Juggling multiple tasks at once, staying up late to finish tasks, not exercising and not eating well – all of these factors can increase forgetfulness,” says Drag.

5. You have a chronic or undiagnosed health issue

Any ailment that affects your brain’s blood supply – like diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol – can cause mental blocks. “A variety of health conditions, such as hypothyroidism, vitamin deficiencies, and hormone imbalances can also cause memory problems,” says Drag. “In older adults in particular, urinary tract infections can cause sudden and temporary confusion.” She recommends checking with your primary care physician for a physical to rule out these common causes and ensure there’s nothing to worry about. In some cases, a simple vitamin supplement will help restore your brainpower.

6. You’re just plain exhausted

Just because you’re logging 8 (or more) hours under the covers doesn’t mean you’re getting good quality rest. Research has shown that people who spend less time in deep sleep have more trouble with memory. The good news? Sometimes all it takes is a quick power nap – even if you snooze for as little as 6 minutes – to give your brain a boost. If you’re feeling abnormally tired despite your siestas, get a thorough checkup. “Sleep apnea, for example, can deprive the brain of oxygen and lead to changes in the blood supply to the brain which over time can negatively impact memory and thinking abilities,” says Drag.

7. You’re just getting older

As you age, your brain might show signs of wear and tear – just as your skin gets more wrinkled and your joints become creakier. Alzheimer’s becomes much more likely after 65, but mild forgetfulness is even more common. So don’t instantly freak out if you find yourself struggling to learn new skills, or to think of the word you want to use in a sentence. “The most common complaints I see from older adults are that they have difficulty coming up with words and walk into a room and forget why they are there,” says Drag. “These lapses can certainly be normal.”

How do you know if your forgetfulness has moved past what’s normal? If your memory lapses start impacting your daily life, it’s worth getting checked out. “An isolated incident of missing an exit or turning the wrong way when driving a new route isn’t unusual,” says Drag, “But if you’re frequently getting lost while driving, particularly in familiar locations, talk with your doctor.” In the meantime, exercising, making smart food choices, and surrounding yourself with a strong support network may help you stay sharper longer.



Stellapharm is one of leading generics pharmaceutical companies and strong producer of anti-viral drugs in Vietnam. The company established in Vietnam in 2000; and focuses on both prescription drugs and non-prescription especially in cardiovascular diseases, antiviral drugs, anti-diabetics drugs, etc. and our products are now used by millions of patients in more than 50 countries worldwide.

The company is globally recognized for its quality through our facilities have been audited and approved by stringent authority like EMA, PMDA, Taiwan GMP, local WHO and others.

Additional information for this article: Stellapharm J.V. Co., Ltd. – Branch 1
A: 40 Tu Do Avenue, Vietnam – Singapore Industrial Park, An Phu Ward, Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province, Vietnam
T: +84 274 376 7470 | F: +84 274 376 7469 | E: info@stellapharm.com | W: www.stellapharm.com

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