Worried about my memory

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Hi I'm 32 and so worried about my memory, I'm worried I've got Alzheimer's!! I know this sounds stupid as I'm young but every day I worry about it and it's getting worse.. I keep forgetting silly things like putting the milk away or how to do things which sends me into a panic and then I forget everything. I'm so worried it's constantly on my mind..

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  • Posted

    Hi Kim, No one on this forum can diagnose you, so you're really going to have to share this with your GP. That being said, there are all sorts of things that can affect your memory, most of which have nothing to do with Alzheimer's. I'm wondering why you're thinking about Alzheimer's. Is it perhaps because there have been a couple of cases of early-onset Alzheimer's in the news recently? Did anyone in your family have it? It's only the early-onset variety that's strongly hereditary, not the sort that starts in old age.

    The main cause of memory loss and lack of concentration in someone your age is anxiety. Depression can also do it - I remember having huge problems with concentration when I became depressed nearly 50 years ago. (I got over it, btw, and only get mild spring-time blues nowadays.)

    There are some physical illnesses that can cause symptoms like this. Have you had any kind of viral infection recently - even a severe cold? I note you don't say how long you've had this problem. An under-active thyroid can also slow everything down and cause memory problems.

    And of course, the more you worry about these lapses of concentration, the more you notice them and the more they happen! I'm in my 70s now, my mother had vascular dementia and I'm currently looking after a friend, not much older than me, with the same condition. I too fly into a panic every time I temporarily forget how to work household appliances or something like that, and have to remind myself to calm down.

    All the same, you're quite young to be having this problem, so I really think you should see your GP. But make sure he/she really listens to you and doesn't just fob you off with a prescription after a two-minute consultation. (I'm a former nurse, so know what they can be like!) If you haven't had a general blood test in the last year you should insist on one. And try to avoid being put on any meds of the benzodiapine group (Valium is one) as they're very difficult to get off and can leave you in a worse state than when you started.

    If you find your symptoms aren't improving within a couple of months of having seen your doctor, you're going to have to insist on referral to a neurologist. This might not be easy, as some GPs are very reluctant to refer to any kind of specialist, but you do have a legal right to a second opinion.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for replying Lily.. I've been to the doctors and they have done blood tests which have all come back normal.. Each doctor seems to think it's stress and depression which I kinda find hard to believe.. I've had a terrible few years with my mum passing away n my dad getting cancer, and now my partner has left me so I'm now leaving bk with my dad with my little boy.. So I suppose I have had some stress but how can that effect my memory😁.. It's little things like forgetting I sent a message or going blank on when using something.. Once I forget or do something silly it stresses me out for the day and I feel so upset and down with it all..😔
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    • Posted

      Kim, from what you say it looks as if you're under terrible stress. It's hardly surprising you're having lapses of memory and concentration. Frankly, I'm surprised you're managing to function at all, with everything you're having to cope with!

      Problems with memory and concentration (which go hand in hand, of course) are among the main symptoms of both stress and depression. Try to cut yourself some slack. Forgive yourself when you make silly mistakes, and accept it as a symptom of stress, rather than inventing some more sinister scenario to explain it. Sometimes it helps to look at things humorously. The other day I walked into the toilet (as I thought) and was absolutely thrown when I found myself looking at the washing machine where the toilet should be. It actually took me several seconds to figure out I'd gone into the utility room by mistake. When I told a friend about it, she said: "Well, look on the bright side. At least you didn't pee in the washing machine!"

      I'm wondering what kind of support system you have, apart from your Dad, who seems to need your support rather than it being the other way round. Does your little boy go to school or a nursery? Do you go out to work? And do you have any friends or other family you can talk to? I know I warned you off benzos (which are tranquillisers, prescribed for anxiety) but I'm wondering whether you might be helped by going on a low dose of anti-depressants, which are in a different class. Perhaps seeing a therapist might help you, especially if CBT (cognitive behavioural, or "talking" therapy) is available in your area. I know availability is a bit patchy though.

      If you don't have a lot of friends you can call on, it can sometimes help to unload your worries on the Samaritans when you get really scared. They're there for everyone - you don't have to be suicidal to call them.

      It honestly doesn't sound to me as if you're suffering from any kind of dementia. In spite of the fact that there've been a couple of cases in the news recently, early-onset Alzheimer's is incredibly rare, and almost never appears out of the blue in families where there's no history of it. I'm glad you've had all the blood tests, so at least you know there's nothing physically wrong. I know it's terribly hard, but ironically the only way you're going to start improving your memory is to try and stop worrying about it so much.

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  • Posted

    Hi kim05094

    I used to worry about my memory as well. So I went to the doctor and asked if there was something for me to be concerned about. It was so bad that I would be on my way somewhere and I would forget where am going. I was really scared one day when I forgot how to get to my doctor’s office. (I have been visiting this doctor for 10 years). I was told that I was extremely stressed and that I should take some time off work and rest. My doctor asked me to come back if this happens.

    MRI test reveals that I am okay. However, I still feel that there is something wrong with my brain because I forget a lot of things (easily). So after the doctor told me I was okay, I sincerly accept that I am forgetful and wrote things down. I have an IPhone that helps me remember appointments, birthdays. Etc. I write all the time and I reflect on it to remember. Furthermore, I journal to help me remember what happened that day; I cannot say that I don’t forget easily anymore but I have made lots of adjustments to deal with the way my brain is…

    I recommend for you to see a doctor to check it out. Once all the medical reasons have been ruled out, they are many things that can be done to strengthen your memory

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