Skip to main content

How to Understand Temporary Memory Loss

People who experience temporary memory loss -- also known as transient global amnesia -- lose the ability to recall recent events. They do remember who they are, and recognize people they know.


  • Step 1: Know that there is no treatment for temporary memory loss. It resolves itself on it own, and their are no known after effects.
  • FACT: In Marcel Proust's novel _Remembrance of Things Past,_ the narrator recaptures his lost childhood memories by biting into a madeleine cookie.
  • TIP: Diagnosis of temporary memory loss rests on ruling out more serious conditions such as stroke, seizure, or a head injury that can produce the same symptoms.
  • Step 2: Be aware that episodes of temporary memory loss may be triggered by an emotionally or physically stressful event that occurred shortly before the onset of the episode.
  • Step 3: Understand that the main symptoms of temporary memory loss are the inability to come up with new memories and an inability to recall the recent past.
  • Step 4: Know that episodes of temporary memory loss last on average only 6 hours. When the episode is over, the individual remembers nothing that happened when their memory was impaired. Otherwise their memory is fine.
  • : Symptoms of temporary memory loss can mimic those of more serious illnesses. Call an ambulance immediately if you or someone you know experiences temporary memory loss.

Popular Categories