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Memory Loss After a Concussion

Memory Loss After a Concussion

A concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause a wide range of symptoms. One of the most common side effects is memory loss. If you have hit your head or been in an accident and you are experiencing foggy memory, you may have suffered a concussion. 

Overview of Memory Loss After a Concussion

After a concussion or head injury, it’s common to feel like you’re in a fog. You may not even remember the accident that caused your injury or what happened right after. 

While this is normal, it can be very alarming to struggle with memory loss after an accident. The good news is it’s usually temporary.

How Does a Concussion Cause Memory Loss?

A concussion disrupts communication in the brain in several ways. Physical trauma, such as inflammation and bruising, may damage nerve cells. Trauma can also trigger a cascade of chemical changes in the brain, which affect function. Damage can also impair the delivery of oxygen to certain regions. 

These changes can make brain functions inefficient or make certain regions overactive. 

Memory itself is a complex process that involves multiple regions of the brain. The limbic system processes and regulates emotion, behavior, and memory. This system in the cerebrum includes the hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus. 

Here’s a basic overview of how memory works

  • Encoding: This is how information is processed, understood, and changed to make it easier to recall later. This process can involve visual, semantic, acoustic, and tactile encoding. 
  • Storage: Information that is encoded is first stored as short-term memory and later stored as long-term memory if necessary. Some information is mostly stored only as short-term memory, while other information is mostly stored as long-term memory. 
  • Retrieval: This is the process of recalling information that has been stored. Information is retrieved from short-term and long-term memory differently. Short-term memory is usually retrieved in the order in which it’s stored, such as a sequence of numbers. Long-term memory is usually retrieved through association. 

Memory consolidation is the process through which temporary memories are transformed into stable, long-term memories. This stabilizes memories through a variety of processes over a period of days to weeks by associating new information with existing stored memories. 

Even mild brain damage from a concussion can impair any of these complex processes and impair short-term or long-term memory. 

Types of Memory and the Effects of a Concussion

A concussion mostly affects short-term memory, but long-term memory can also be impacted. 

Many types of memory may be impaired following a head injury: 

  • Working memory: This type of short-term memory holds limited, temporary information. It’s important for reasoning, perception, thinking, making decisions, and processing language. 
  • Spatial memory: This type of memory involves where things happened, where to find things, and how to get to different places. 
  • Prospective memory: This is the ability to remember intentions and plans long enough for you to carry them out. 
  • Episodic memory: This long-term memory allows you to recall specific events and experiences throughout your life. 

The most common type of memory loss after a concussion is anterograde amnesia – or short-term memory loss. This is often called “post-concussion brain fog.” You may have trouble remembering the details of conversations you just had, forget what you were doing, or have trouble learning new information. Forgetfulness and foggy thinking are common. 

How Long Does Memory Loss After a Concussion Usually Last?

For most people, post-concussion brain fog and short-term memory loss resolve on their own within a few weeks to two months. For some, impaired memory is a long-term complication of a mild brain injury.

According to one study, high school athletes who experienced mild concussions had “pronounced memory decline” for at least a week after their injury. Another study found that people scored 25% lower after a concussion on memory and thinking tests than healthy individuals. While their scores were similar to the control group after a year, imaging tests still found visible brain damage. 

For about 80% of people, concussion symptoms like memory loss resolve within a few weeks. About 20% of people develop post-concussion syndrome (PCS), which refers to persisting symptoms like memory problems, insomnia, and sensitivity to sound and light. 

What Are the Most Common Causes of a Concussion?

A concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury. It can be caused by any injury that causes a blow to the head or neck. 

The most common causes of concussions are: 

Concussions can also be caused by rapid deceleration. You can sustain a concussion without hitting your head if sudden, violent movement or deceleration causes the brain to hit the inside of the skull. 

What Compensation Can I Recover For a Concussion in Colorado?

Brain injury victims are entitled to pursue compensation for their losses from the at-fault party. A personal injury case allows you to recover economic damages for financial losses and non-economic damages for physical, emotional, or psychological harm you suffered. 

Common types of damages you may be eligible for include: 

We are committed to helping accident victims recover maximum compensation. Our Denver personal injury attorneys can help you understand what your case may be worth and fight for full compensation on your behalf.

How Long Do I Have To File a Concussion Injury Lawsuit in Colorado?

The Colorado statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years from the date of injury. If the claim arises due to a motor vehicle accident, the deadline is increased to three years. If you miss this crucial deadline, your case will be dismissed, and you will be unable to recover compensation from the at-fault party. 

Contact Our Denver Personal Injury Lawyers For a Free Consultation To Discuss Your Concussion Injuries

If you have suffered a concussion due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be entitled to compensation. Zaner Harden Law is here to help. With decades of combined experience, we have recovered tens of millions for injury victims like you. 

Contact our law office to schedule a free case review with a Denver personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. We will help you understand your legal options and how we can help.

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