What is poor memory?

Poor memory or memory problems is defined as difficulty with memorizing new and recently learned materials or problems with retaining past knowledge and memories.

What are some of the common causes of memory problems?

Memory problems can be related to a wide range of some simple health and lifestyle issues or some serious medication. The following are some examples:

  1. Anxiety disorders
  2. Depression
  3. Alcohol use or dependence
  4. Alzheimer’s disease
  5. Dementia
  6. Lack of concentration
  7. Poor sleep
  8. Asleep apnea
  9. Vitamins and nutrients deficiency
  10. Thyroid disorders
  11. Stimulant drug abuse
  12. Specific medications (antihistamines, anti-seizure medications, antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering pills, hypertension medications, incontinence drugs, narcotic-level painkillers)
  13. Stroke
  14. Brain tumor
  15. Severe malnutrition

What are some common symptoms of poor memory?

Individuals with memory problems could present with:

  • Difficulty leaning new subjects
  • Losing personal items such as switches, cellphone, …
  • Losing their way to home
  • Forgetfulness such as forgetting important events and meetings
  • Not recalling past events, friends, family, …

Are there any laboratory work up for diagnosis of memory problems?

Laboratory work ups might be used only to rule out the potential cause  of memory problems. Some common labs requested are:

  1. CBC
  2. TSH, T4
  3. Serum electrolytes
  4. Vitamin B12 and B1

Are there any diagnostic tests that can be used to find the cause of the memory issues?

MRI or CT-Scan might be used to explore potential conditions that could affect brain and its function.

How could I improve my memory function?

Improving memory performance depends on the underlying cause. Often life style modification is enough to enhance memory. for instance:

  1. Anxiety and stress reduction
  2. Avoid drugs or alcohol
  3. Improve sleep
  4. Improve breathing
  5. Better diet and nutrition
  6. Regular physical activity
  7. Some supplements
  8. Herbal products such as Ginseng


  • Chase, K., & Ericsson, W. G. (1982). Exceptional memory. American Scientist, 70, 607-

Important note:

This document is prepared by the “Mental Health for All” team. The general information provided on the Website is for informational purposes only and is not professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or care, nor is it intended to be a substitute therefore. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider properly licensed to practise medicine or general healthcare in your jurisdiction concerning any questions you may have regarding any information obtained from this Website and any medical condition you believe may be relevant to you or to someone else. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. Always consult with your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet, or fitness program. Information obtained on the Website is not exhaustive and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment.

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