Free «Anterograde and Retrograde Amnesia » Essay Sample

Anterograde amnesia is also commonly referred to as fixation amnesia, and it refers to the inability to create new memories after the occurrence of events that led to the condition. For instance, one will not have the ability to remember events that occur after an accident. Retrograde amnesia is also commonly referred to as evocation amnesia, and it entails the inability to remember events that happened prior to the onset of the amnesia. This means that one will not be able to keep in mind anything that occurred before such events as accidents. The man in the documentary Forgetting Dad exhibits a high level of retrograde amnesia as he does not remember having a family prior to the accident. This essay summarizes the key points of the documentary Forgetting Dad, comparing anterograde amnesia and retrograde amnesia.

According to Andrewes (2013), both anterograde and retrograde amnesia are caused by the traumatic brain injury, which may entail the damage to the hippocampus or its surrounding cortices. The hippocampus is associated with the consolidation of memory, and its destruction leads to a person forgetting new events or events that might have occurred in the past. The destruction of the hippocampus makes it difficult for individuals to store information about different people. However, there are also other causes for these types of amnesia. For instance, anterograde amnesia is also commonly caused by the consumption of benzodiazepine drugs, such as lorazepam and midazolam. Shock and emotional disorders also have the capacity for leading to anterograde amnesia. On the other hand, retrograde amnesia could also be caused by traumatic events, such as accidents, which do not necessarily lead to brain damage. For instance, Minnich and Sweetwood (2010) confirm that the man in the documentary Forgetting Dad could have suffered from such traumatizing accident, which could make him forget that he was ever a father. Other significant causes include nutritional deficiency and illnesses. Individuals need to take all the necessary nutrients to prevent retrograde amnesia.

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Moreover, both anterograde and retrograde amnesia could occur in the same person simultaneously. Parkin (2013) insists that these two types of amnesia always have the capacity of developing in the same person, hence leading to a complication when an individual is not able to both remember past events and memorize the new ones. It is always difficult to manage both kinds of amnesia when they develop in one person because of their complex nature.

A person suffering from retrograde amnesia will have a memory loss relating to events experienced, people met, and places visited before the amnesia took its toll on him/her. Conversely, anterograde amnesia is associated with the inability of an individual to form new memories of all events, places, and people that come after the emergence of the condition. Minnich and Sweetwood (2010) inform that in the documentary Forgetting Dad, the man suffers from retrograde amnesia and forgets about his own past, and especially being a father and a husband. Nobody is able to convince him that he is a father. He lives in denial of his role of a father that he assumed before the occurrence of the accident, and now he can have a new family. This would not have been different in case he suffered from anterograde amnesia as he would also have left his current family, having forgotten about them.

The management of both anterograde and retrograde amnesia is complex. Practitioners are yet to establish the best ways of addressing these amnesias in individuals. For instance, it is suggested that individuals suffering from retrograde amnesia could be left to recover spontaneously. Andrewes (2013) insists that spontaneous recovery is believed to be the best recovery process because it gives the patient the opportunity to think about the past events and remember them. This is unlike in case of anterograde amnesia where practitioners have no defined treatment and management approach. However, for home care, it is suggested that both anterograde and retrograde amnesia could be managed through patience and support of the patient. This means that a patient should not be rushed into remembering events that have occurred in his/her life. There should be an element of patience that would give an individual some space to try to remember the occurrence of these events at some point of his/her life.

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Another vital point to note is that individuals suffering from retrograde amnesia tend to lose such crucial skills as encoding, which makes it difficult for them to have a single memory of particular events that might have occurred prior to an incident. Parkin (2013) agrees that encoding skills are helpful in the generation of the memory to make it remember past events. On the other hand, individuals suffering from anterograde amnesia do not always have the ability to learn skills that were not familiar to them before an incident. This implies that they cannot even remember events that happened to them a few minutes ago.

In conclusion, both anterograde and retrograde amnesia are severe conditions that incapacitate the memory of patients. The documentary Forgetting Dad shows a typically case of retrograde amnesia when the patient cannot remember having a family at some point before the occurrence of the accident that could have been traumatizing to him. It is vital to develop a clearly defined management approach to both conditions to ensure that patients get the maximum support for their recovery process. Excessive reminders might not be helpful in trying to restore the memory of these patients. Overall, patience needs to be exercised in home care to facilitate a patient’s course of recovery.

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