Causes of Memory Loss in Teens

Memory lapses happen to everyone at times. Your teen may forget where he placed homework or what time you told him to go to his doctor's appointment. These lapses are normal glitches that occur within his brain because it's busy sorting, storing and recalling other details. Worry about your teen's memory loss when his lack of information disrupts his daily life. Memory loss isn't always permanent--seek medical attention if your teen has trouble completing everyday tasks.


Prescribed and over-the-counter medications can interfere with your teen's memory because of possible altered consciousness effects. Such medications include sleeping pills, antihistamines, anti-anxiety medications, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and pain medications.

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse may cause memory deficits. Thiamine deficiencies occur when people use alcohol heavily. In addition to possible memory loss from thiamine deficiencies, alcohol also can change chemicals within your teen's brain--this also can affect her memory.

Head Trauma

Trauma to your teen's head can affect his memory. Memory loss from head trauma typically won't worsen, but will stay the same or improve. If your teen continues activity immediately after taking a blow to his head, serious injury is unlikely. However, closely watch your teen for 24 hours after the incident.


Depression causes a lack of attention and focus, which can prevent your teen from creating or recalling memory. Impaired concentration can cause memory deficits. Treating depression can help sharpen your teen's memory.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety from emotional trauma can cause memory loss. Psychogenic amnesia is rare but can result from extreme emotional stress. This condition can cause your teen to forget where he lives, his name or even his birth date.


Illness that damages the brain could explain why your teen struggles with her memory. Such diseases as HIV, tuberculosis, syphilis and herpes can attack the brain and cause memory problems.

Sleep Deprivation

Lack of sleep can affect your teen's memory. Feeling tired can make your teen too unaware of his surroundings to create a memory, or it can inhibit his memory recall.

Dissociative Disorder

Dissociative disorder can cause your teen to lose her short-term or long-term memory. This disorder occurs when your teen experiences a traumatic event--it's a coping response to block memory.

Lack of Oxygen

When your teen's brain doesn't receive a sufficient supply of oxygen, it may affect his memory. If your teen has experienced an episode where he stopped breathing, his heart stopped pumping or he had complications with anesthesia, his brain may have experienced damage because of a lack of oxygen.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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