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What Is Amnesia?

August 23, 2017

What You Need to Know About Amnesia

Amnesia is a rare medical condition that most people are aware of but few actually understand. This week, The National Benefit Authority is blogging about a very important topic — memory loss. Memory loss affects thousands of people in North America. Amnesia is a medical condition that can cause severe memory loss.


According to the Mayo Clinic, “Amnesia refers to the loss of memories, such as facts, information and experiences.” One thing about amnesia that most people are unaware of is the fact that it does not cause a total loss of identity. For example, the affected person will still probably know who they are and have a sense of self. Amnesia is typically permanent, and it affects someone’s ability to learn and retain new information.

An amnesia-affected person’s brain is not able to make the connections needed for long term storage of information. It is also difficult for the brain to create a new memory by using stored information. For someone who has amnesia, short term memories “just don’t stick.” This is why one of the main amnesia symptoms is the inability to remember many things. Interestingly, those with amnesia sometimes are unable to imagine future happenings.


  • There are many different types of amnesia, including:
  • Anterograde amnesia
  • Retrograde amnesia
  • Traumatic amnesia
  • Transient global amnesia
  • Posthypnotic amnesia
  • Source amnesia
  • Blackout phenomenon
  • Childhood amnesia
  • Hysterical amnesia
  • Wernike-Korsakoff’s psychosis

Read more about the different types of amnesia here.


Amnesia can be caused by a number of factors, including certain sedative drugs, brain damage by injury, degenerative brain diseases (Alzheimer’s, for example), and psychological defense mechanisms. Regardless of amnesia causes, the condition seriously impedes on a person’s life. The good news is there is support for people with amnesia.


“There’s no specific treatment for amnesia, but techniques for enhancing memory and psychological support can help people with amnesia and their families cope.” Psychological support and memory enhancing techniques can sometimes equip people who have amnesia with the skills they need to perform daily tasks and achieve some level of independence.

The National Benefit Authority is Canada’s leading service provider of the Disability Tax Credit for people with medical conditions or disabilities. We’ve helped over 40,000 Canadians successfully receive their Canadian disability benefits.

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*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority.  Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.