Is short term memory most common problem after hea... - Headway


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Is short term memory most common problem after head injury?


I go to a brain injury group meetings with others who had brain injury. It was set up by a man who had BI 5 years ago. He has struggled with the thinking so pretty much had to relearn basic things and had problems with long and short term memory. I've noticed most people who go there have bad short term memory and it is one of my main problems. Until today there has been very little signs of the man who set the group up to show he has BI today it's been clear he still struggles with short term memory twice I had to remind him something he had said he'd do and forgot. So is this most common problem?

22 Replies

its certainly one of the more common ones, i'd be temped to say fatigue. but brain injury in its entirety isn't that well researched i.e. GP's don't really see folks with minor or even moderate injuries after a certain time point etc.

Yea I noticed a few getting tired on way home. Woman who was getting tired while still out and bloke who set group up was tired on way back which may of made his short term memory worse as it was things that should of been easy to remember. One was him forgetting why he'd phoned someone I had to remind him,

keeley24 short term memory loss is caused by a bi in some cases.

with me i can be having a conversation and whoosh what was i saying or what was the conversation about, ask me what i did on a certain date 10 years ago or who sang what no probs.

as roger said the most common is fatigue, a bi fatigue is nothing like physical fatigue and fortunately for you, not having had a bi you wouldnt understand.

my comments arent rude, im just glad you dont have to go through the things we do.

oh and one last thing, the worst thing you can say to someone with a bi is " i understand ".

welcome to our group keeley i hope i havent put you off

steve x

keeley24 in reply to steve55

If you actually read my previous posts before deciding what I have or haven't been through you would see I HAVE been through BI so would understand it. I know every case is different and it effects everyone in different ways but don't start telling people what they would or wouldn't understand and what they have or haven't been through until you get your facts right.

steve55 in reply to keeley24

keeley24 i dont remember seeing you on here and you came across as being a support maybe in future, to avoid a genuine mistake, mabe it wouldnt hurt if you started " for those who dont know know me ".

as i said, my comments were not aimed at causing offence.

the one good thing about typing is it makes me think about what im going to right instead of saying i thought i was helping but if you want to take that fucking attitude, fuck off

I hide most of mine Always, even from myself at times. I had afew awkward moments in serious practical exams... Whoosh, can't remember simple sequence / numbers.. Which isn't an option in what I do. But thankfully it's numerical exam stress not what I'm like normally. It's Quite disgusting hearing brainless folk with No attempt in vaguely attempting to imagine Our New unwanted conditions / ways & hidden tornadoes of Torment say just...... write it down etc... Mean while the forgotten bath is over flowing, TV is now on & the smoke machine disco for one person is in full swing with tones of Dinner & the musical fire alarm beating away :)

Can I copyright my Ramblings...

Anyhow, " what's your name again "........?!

Sometimes it's not just about the part of the brain responsible for short term memory. It can be attention span as well. I never had a problem for attention before, but now I have to put a lot more effort into it or I will quickly forget.

Every survivor I have met has struggled with memory issues.

M x

michelle 3 years i was diagnosed as being on the adhd syndrome and the neuro psychiatrist wanted me to take medication for it, i said ok as long as it wasnt an anti not depressed and i have a stigma about anti depressants.

I used to have a dim view of anti depressants and refused them for a long time. But once I finally decided to give them a try they helped so much. My dad has Alzheimer's and would get agitated a lot so he started anti depressants and he is so much happier now. It's like having the old dad back.

Memory is just one of the common facets of a head injury, a lot depends on where in the brain the damage occurs. However, an injury in one place can trigger issues elsewhere.

If you take something as "simple" as pain. Something that most head injury sufferers get. This can cause lack of sleep which causes fatigue leading to lack of concentration and memory problems, irritability etc. Then of course you may get pain relief which because of its sedative nature, may cause people to be lethargic, cause more sleep problems causing more problems with memory and concentration.etc.

Whilst the old saying that "if you have seen one head injury, you have only seen one head injury as they are all different" is true, most survivors will get degrees of pain, fatigue, memory and concentration problems and some form of mood swings even if it is short term

I can remember arcane instructions to make computer do stuff and what not.

But I do now loose track of what I was doing, and I don't always remember some people or the reverse think I do! I've been attempting to remember the name of one of the volunteers at my local headway group for a good year now, one day one day!

Names I find particularly difficult, I can even mention a name in one sentence then in the next second completely forget.

I can only smile and say "me too"! I have a exercise class I attend twice a week, and struggle to remember more than half of the people there, for the last 3 years. Your not the only one! Bear Hugs - m

I have inconsistent lapses in my short-term/functional memory, two and a bit years after a frontal-lobe SAH. I've taken to writing things down, which I never needed to do 'before', or programming reminders into my phone. For me, it's the basic/mundane things that tend to get lost in my head, like the 'other' socks in the washing machine; I'm usually OK if something has my 'full' attention, but the stuff that doesn't take much thinking about tends to 'slip'.

I'm now 'that' person that wanders around the supermarket muttering 'milk' to myself, one of my hands doesn't work properly, so juggling basket/trolley and a list is awkward, I'd write the things I need on the back of my duff hand, but I'd likely fall asleep before washing it off, and end up with 'Washing up liquid' printed backwards on my face.

Anecdotal update on the PIP 'memory test'- they still ask you to remember three words while you do some basic arithmetic, BUT there's now a bizarre 'following instructions' test as well.

"Take this piece of paper, fold it in half, and then half again, walk to 'there', come back, and sit on the piece of paper."

Why do I remember something so inane in exact detail? It was 'test conditions', so my poor old brain was hyper-alert, I'll most likely 'pass' the cognitive functioning element, even though some days I'll open a new tin of beans, go to put the unused half in the fridge, and realise there was already a half-portion left. I'm an oddity, I struggle with 'simple' things, but give me something complex to do, and, fully engaged, I'm really productive.

steve55 in reply to Gaia_rising

concentration is one of mine. but if i type it helps me not to swear. sometimes it doesnt work.

Martha2 in reply to Gaia_rising

I too have the same issues. I forget I put in laundry, so I have to keep the laundry basket in the hall so I remember to take out the laundry later. I need to write everything down, but the key is to remember where you put that darn piece of paper, so you can do what you wrote down. But if I have a major project to focus on, everything else disappears and I can do fine. It is weird, your not the only one! Bear Hugs - M

Gaia_rising in reply to Martha2

I'm with you on the 'visual reminders', like leaving the basket where you can see it, our work-around strategies do seem a little odd to 'outsiders', I lost count of the number of "Why are you doing that?" conversations with my son, when he was back from uni for the summer.

My work-around for the 'lost list' is that my primary note-pad stays in exactly the same place, all of the time, after literally years of one pad by the phone, one in the bedroom, and seven billion post-it notes with indecipherable scribblings on them. There are still post-it notes, there's one on the side of my chair now, with the items in my online shopping basket that I already have in the house. My mind wanders onto auto-pilot when I'm doing basic/mundane things, as I mentioned above, double-checking the grocery order is irritating, but I don't 'need' another two packs of the same cup-a-soup that I still have one of in the cupboard.

My long-term recall is still there, it's all of the 'What did I come in here for?' lapses that are worrying, and the way I'll go into the kitchen meaning to find something to eat, and end up re-stacking cupboards, or something moronic like that. My son hadn't realised how bad it had become, three months with me in the summer really opened his eyes to all the cover-up tactics I'd been using. We all adapt differently, I have a 'memory strategies for patients and carers' booklet upstairs, that came home in my hospital bag. It has teeth-marks in it, because I was so angry about not NEEDING a carer... Woman who bites leaflet, saying she doesn't need help... "Leave objects such as keys, and mobile phones in the same place every day.", things like that.

As others have said memory problems are only one part of a bi. Plus they can be made worse by other effects of a bi such as fatigue.

Also there isn't a typical bi. Even if you suffer identical injuries this doesn't mean you follow the same recovery and problems.

The one thing we do have in common is the willingness to help others going through simular situations.


My husbands short term memory can be really bad. He forgets sometimes he has eaten breakfast & will go to get some more!.

His long term is amazing, he can remember stuff from 20 years ago.

Again fatigue is one of the biggest issues, which we are learning to cope with over time, 4 years on from his injury

Luckily I don't have fatigue but going to this brain injury group does help me see what others go through and it's first place I have been comfortable talking openly and making conversation. Notice a lot of people don't remember the BI happening. I don't remember mine tho remember just about every other part of my life asked a few people at group and they don't remember theirs.

Yes short term memory problem are very common. I have an unruptured AVM but still suffer from this.

Still coming to terms with my short term memory issues. Can't say it is funny cos it aint. From being as sharp as a razorblade pre BI to often coming across as quiet and verging on confused I amoften not in a happy place. sadly people around me who don't know about my medical history can often be quite dismissive of me. Yes it is hurtful, but on the positive side it helps me to relate better to people who struggle with the same issues. Knowing I can do very little about this I do give myself permission at times to have a little war dance and perhaps kick some inaminate object, dust myself off and try again. But it is still bloody infuriating and a pain in the ar.. Clare

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