can suppressing emotions cause memory loss

Impact of Memory Loss on Daily Functioning

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Written by BFH Staff Writer on May 6, 2024

Memory is the cornerstone of our daily functioning, allowing us to recall past experiences, learn new information, and navigate through life’s myriad tasks. However, when memory loss occurs, it can disrupt various aspects of our lives and can cause emotional impact, affecting not only the individual but also their loved ones and caregivers.

Manifestations of Memory Loss

Memory loss can manifest in various forms, ranging from occasional forgetfulness to more severe conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. While occasional memory lapses are a normal part of aging, significant memory impairment can significantly impair an individual’s ability to perform daily tasks independently.

Amnesia vs Dementia vs Alzheimer’s

While memory loss is a common symptom shared by various conditions, it’s essential to differentiate between amnesia, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease, as each has distinct characteristics and implications for daily functioning.


Amnesia refers to partial or complete loss of memory, often caused by brain injury, trauma, or psychological factors. It can affect short-term or long-term memory and may be temporary or permanent. Amnesia typically involves difficulty in forming new memories or recalling past events, but other cognitive functions remain intact. Individuals with amnesia may struggle with specific tasks or experiences but retain the ability to perform other activities of daily living independently.


Dementia is a broader term encompassing a set of symptoms that impair cognitive function, including memory loss, reasoning, judgment, and language skills. It is caused by various underlying conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia. Dementia typically progresses gradually, worsening over time and significantly impacting daily functioning. In addition to memory loss, individuals with dementia may experience changes in personality, behavior, and executive function, making it challenging to perform routine tasks independently.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for approximately 60-70% of cases. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the accumulation of abnormal protein deposits in the brain, leading to the death of brain cells and widespread brain atrophy. Memory loss is often the earliest and most prominent symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, affecting short-term memory initially and progressing to long-term memory as the condition advances. In addition to memory impairment, individuals with Alzheimer’s may experience language difficulties, disorientation, mood changes, and difficulty with motor functions. Alzheimer’s disease significantly impairs daily functioning, eventually rendering individuals dependent on caregivers for basic activities of daily living.

Impact of Memory on Daily Functioning

Memory loss not only challenges our ability to remember past events but also significantly affects our daily functioning in various aspects. Memory loss can create hurdles that lead to frustration, decreased confidence, and compromised well-being. Here are some of the possible impacts of memory loss in your daily life:

  1. Cognitive Tasks – Memory loss can hinder cognitive functions such as attention, concentration, and problem-solving. Simple tasks like following a recipe or remembering appointments become challenging, leading to frustration and decreased confidence.
  2. Communication – Memory loss can affect language skills, making it difficult to find the right words or maintain a coherent conversation. This can strain interpersonal relationships and lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  3. Daily Activities – Basic activities of daily living, such as personal hygiene, meal preparation, and managing finances, can become overwhelming for individuals with memory loss. They may forget to take medication or neglect household chores, compromising their safety and well-being.
  4. Social Engagement – Memory loss can impact social interactions, causing individuals to withdraw from social activities they once enjoyed. This can lead to feelings of isolation and depression, further exacerbating cognitive decline.

Coping Strategies for Memory Loss

Navigating life with memory loss can be challenging, but there are coping strategies that individuals and their caregivers can employ to maintain a sense of control and well-being. Here are some strategies you can practice to cope with memory loss:

  1. Establish Routines – Creating structured daily routines can help individuals with memory loss navigate their day more effectively. Simple routines for meals, medication, and daily activities provide a sense of stability and predictability.
  2. Use Memory Aids – Memory aids such as calendars, to-do lists, and reminder apps can compensate for memory deficits. These tools help individuals stay organized and remember important tasks and appointments.
  3. Stay Active – Engaging in physical, mental, and social activities can help mitigate the effects of memory loss. Regular exercise, cognitive stimulation, and social interaction promote brain health and improve overall well-being.
  4. Seek Support – It’s essential for individuals with memory loss and their caregivers to seek support from healthcare professionals, support groups, and community resources. These resources offer valuable guidance, education, and emotional support for coping with memory loss.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can suppressing emotions cause memory loss?

Suppressing emotions does not directly cause memory loss, but it can contribute to stress and psychological strain, which may affect memory function over time. Chronic stress has been linked to cognitive decline and memory impairment, so it’s essential to address and manage emotions in healthy ways to support overall brain health.

How does dementia affect you emotionally?

Dementia can have a profound emotional impact, both on individuals experiencing the condition and their caregivers. As cognitive abilities decline, individuals with dementia may experience frustration, confusion, anxiety, and depression. They may also undergo personality changes and mood swings, which can further affect emotional well-being and interpersonal relationships.

How does Alzheimer’s affect short-term memory?

Alzheimer’s disease primarily affects short-term memory in its early stages. Individuals may have difficulty remembering recent events, conversations, or information they just learned. As the disease progresses, short-term memory loss worsens, eventually extending to long-term memory and severely impairing overall cognitive function. Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial for managing symptoms and optimizing quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

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