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Memory & Attention Problems

Posted Jul 01 2009 12:00am
July 19th, 2009 at 9:10pm |

I’ve been worrying a lot lately about my memory and attention problems. I’ve had problems with these things my whole life, and sometimes they cause me embarrassment and shame. I work with alzheimers patients and I often see them doing things that I do. That scares me. I think to myself, “I’m not supposed to be doing this until I’m old”. I know other people notice it too and wonder about it because they have often let me know by their words, body language, sighing, rolling of eyes, etc. It’s frustrating because I do not want to be this way. I want to be sharp, but I’m not. Sharp people don’t forget where they put things or why they went into a room.

I’ve wondered if the memory loss comes from the bipolar disorder or perhaps it’s ADD. But then I started thinking about my childhood epilepsy and wondered if having seizures could’ve caused some brain damage and therefore memory loss. So I did a search for “memory epilepsy” and found that yes, seizures do cause brain damage in whatever area of the brain they effect and can damage the hippocampus which is responsible for memory.

I had also read a long time ago that there’s a link between bipolar disorder and epilepsy. That is, many epilepsy experience mood swings similar to that of bipolar disorder and are misdiagnosed. Well, I had a neuro exam and an EEG two years ago and the neurologist said I wasn’t having seizures. He blamed my spaciness and memory loss on depression and anxiety. A friend of mine who is studying to become a naturopathic doctor said I could be having mini-seizures that aren’t showing up on an EEG. The question is then, how do I find out if I’m having seizures? If I’m having seizures, they definitely need to be treated, and perhaps that would help the attention problems and memory loss.

But maybe I’m not. I described the absence seizures to my husband and asked him if he’s ever seen me have one and he said no. He would know because he is with me 80% of the time.

Even if I’m not having seizures, many of my symptoms now could be caused by brain damage suffered as a child. I definitely think the attention/memory problems are caused by the seizures but I also wonder if the bipolar symptoms are caused by that as well. I go to my doctor again in August and I’m going to talk to him about that and ask him if there’s anything that I can take that will “sharpen” me, help me pay attention better and remember things better. I don’t know if you can take anything to reverse brain damage or not. I used to take Ginko Biloba, and I don’t know if that did anything.

I can’t go to a neurologist right now because there’s none on the approved network and I can’t afford one out of pocket. There has got to be some good testing to find out if this stuff that I experience is neurological or not and there has to be a treatment.

The other thing is that I got Lyme disease in 2006 and I read that you can get neurological damage from that. But, I did treat it within two weeks and had 2 rounds of antibiotics. I still wonder though if it’s completely out of my system. Guess I should have that checked.

It would be good to go ahead and get these things checked out so I will quit worrying about them.

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