Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) in my 30's?

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I am posting the follwing in the hope that there are others who may identify with my symptoms and offer advice, coping strategies and information regarding possible treatment.  Thanyou in advance.

I am a man in my late thirties - other than the symptoms detailed below I consider myself fit and healthy.  I eat well and enjoy regular exercise.  

Subjective Evaluation:

(I hope readers can understand the difficulty associated with explaining and quantifying symptoms of this nature):

Apparent over the last 5 years.  

First noticed around 2011.

I perceive my short term memory to be below average for my age, it was not always poor and has declined over a period of time alongside elements of my cognitive functioning.  

I believe the decline to have been rapid in onset but feel that it has plateaued in the last year or so.

I have a general disconnected feeling with events in the recent past as I struggle to recall key information.  I would describe it as being in a fog.  If prompted by an outside source I can recall most information that would have otherwise been forgotten.

The problem appears particularly acute in terms of my episodic memory.

Information learned before I noticed an impairment appears less affected 

My appreciation of concepts and ideas is less noticeably affected.

My visual memory is less noticeably affected.

I liken the process of search and retrieval to scanning a black hole - I know there’s something I need in there.  Sometimes it emerges, sometimes not.  It takes much longer than it used to.

Information I have forgotten, in reality for me, ceases to exist.  When prompted I can usually recall those things I had previously been unaware of forgetting (e.g., going to the cinema last week).  This leads me to believe that the impairment is related to the mechanism of recall rather than an issue with absorption.

Some Examples:

Disjointed, spoken discourse.  

My recall of vocabulary is distinctly affected.  It may take five to ten seconds (if at all) to recall a particular word or turn of phrase needed to make my point succinctly (as I would have previously without issue).  I find myself using simpler, less efficient and more readily available words to fill in the gaps as they arise.

My ability to remember detailed information (names, times, dates etc.) is poor.  E.g., being aware I have an appt. but unable to recall the date or time after told only minutes earlier.

Increased occurrence of getting lost whilst driving.  Difficulty in remembering routes I may have driven three or four times previously. Missing exit junctions on motorways etc.  

Difficulty dealing with multiple tasks whilst at work - if interrupted I will often forget to return to a task.  This is linked to my ability to manage tasks internally (e.g., whilst prioritising the day’s work in my mind I will often struggle to recall the first task by the time I have reached the third or fourth).

Some of the above examples appear to be less noticeable within 20mins of taking my prescribed dose of Physeptone - particularly my ability to recall vocabulary and speak articulately (although this may be due to the mild euphoric effect it has)..

Associated Effects:

A marked loss of self confidence in relation to my intellect.

A loss of confidence in my professional abilities.

Increased note taking whilst at work and home.

Avoidance of circumstances and situations that may reveal the inadequacies of my memory (in particular, professionally).

Avoidance of learning new tasks.

Overcompensation.

Reduced motivation.

Fear of continued degradation.

My NHS GP has been excellent but is unable to find any physical or mental cause to date.  The surgury and local hospital carried out the following tests:   full blood screen (x2), MRI brain scan, review with phsycologist, demetia memory tests (simple and detailed)).

If there are any readers who have anything to offer I would greatly appreciate your help (if only to know that there are others with similar symptoms).

Many thanks.

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    You were very explicit  in detailing your problems so it seems apprent that you have good cognive facilities. One thing -- I don't think you mentioned if  are currently or  if you had in the past taken any prescription drugs or  street drugs.  Things like you explained can have long term consequences from using  psychotropic drugs .  It's not out  of the question. Had you considered that aspect ?  If you have not or currently using anything like that.......then I don't know what else to tell you.  Regards,   Jim B

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    • Posted

      Thankyou Jim, 

      In answer to your question, I have a (stable) history of opiate addiction (diamorphine) which came to an end 8 years ago and was subsequently prescribed physeptone.   I am still taking a low dose of physeptone (8mgs/day).

      I'm inclined to agree with you that the long term effect of such use is unknown to most clinicians and that it is the most likely explanation.  I plan to be free of opiates within 6 months.   If this is the cause of my problem then my hope is that the symptoms are not a result of my reducing opiate intake.  

      I have read all I can about long term opiate use and it is borne out in the literature that long term changes take place within the brain, some of which appear to be reversible, given time.   However, neither my GP nor the clinicians I have subsequently seen place the emphasis directly on this being the cause?

      I am slowly coming to terms with this as something I may have to live with for the rest of my life.  The phrase, "sow the wind, reap the whirlwind" springs to mind..

       

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  • Posted

    My heart goes out to you.  I have been under treatment for depression and anxiety since I was 16 - and I am now 41.  Marked loss of memory and - as you call it - "mental fog" is certainly a prevalent symptom.  Have you been to see a psychiatrist yet? 

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    • Posted

      Jim B asked my other question - are you currently taking anything from a doctor for depression?  Certain drugs for depression and anxiety can certainly make it worse if it's not the right one! 

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    • Posted

      Thankyou for your kind words Jan,  I have replied to another member above - which should answer your 2nd question.  

      I am not suffereing from depression/anxiety but I was referred by my GP to a psychologist who , after carrying out a bank of tests admitted he was unable to help other than suggesting coping mechanisms and strategies for day to day life.

      I am interested to know how you deal with your memory loss (day to day)?   Do you have any particular coping strategies?

      Personally,  I find my family and collegues make concessions (to a point) but cannot myself shake the nagging feeling that I'm normally running at 2/3rds performance,  it really does affect my self confidence.

      Kind regards,

      S

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    • Posted

      According to some psychiatrists, long term use of benzos and opiates will undoubtedly cause memory problems and mental fog.  I was on Xanax for 15 years and came off a year ago, but I still have those issues.  Some addiction specialists say it can take up to three years to regain your faculties.  Granted, this doesn't happen to everyone.  I can only speak for myself.  There is no doubt that those classes of medications save lives...  but to some, the side effects are strong.  To answer your question about how I cope - lists, lists and lists!  I have a calendar I carry with me to any appointment - and I always have "to-do" notes written down each day.  Added to the dozen post-it notes I have on my desk.  Seriously, write things down.  As to the mental fog when associating with others, there is not much you can do except to be patient with yourself.  Many people in my life just thought I was a lost cause.  When I got on the right combination of medicines and therapy, I was a different person.  I still forget things and often feel like I'm walking through fog, but you learn tricks along the way to help you through it. 

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