Memory Loss Disorders and Personal Identity

When you ask someone, what is their personal identity? That person is more likely to answer that it’s an aspect of their lives that they have no control over, such as skin color, religion, or culture. While that still remains true, but what is the main aspect that includes all of the above? The answer to that question would be the memory.


Memory, as Stephen Hawking argued, corresponds to the human perception of time. He proceeded to explain that the things we remember are in the past and we cannot move forward in time if we don’t remember what our current selves have done in the past.


Memory is an important factor to know where we are in life, it supplies us with sanity and mindfulness. Since memory evokes past occurrences, people are self-aware. In other words, you are aware of yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings as a being because your brain stores previous events that happened in your life, which affects your future action and behavior. That is why people who suffer from memory loss disorders cannot develop a personal identity.


Memory loss patients wander with no previous recollection of what or who they are. Without a memory, there is no identity. And many of memory-loss patients suffer from identity-related issues, the most common being Amnesia and Alzheimer.


Amnesia emerges with head injuries, whether from incidents or surgeries. In fact, researchers at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine have discovered that anesthetics induce memory loss for people undergoing surgeries. Though they didn’t find a definite link yet, one scientist explained that anesthetics can serve as an influencer on mental activity. Head trauma associated with comas can have many long-term threats, including affecting one’s ability to remember when aging. Patients who have suffered from head trauma are more likely to be vulnerable to memory diseases when growing old.


Contrary to popular belief, Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, the risks just intensify when age increases. Alzheimer’s is the main cause of about 60% to 70% cases of dementia. It worsens over time and dementia symptoms consequently worsen too. As the disease exacerbates, the patient begins to suffer from disorientation, loss of enthusiasm, and no self-control. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but scientists are researching for treatments to change how the disease affects people and enhance the quality of life for people with Dementia.

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