Organic Amnesia Research Paper

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To what extent do you believe that psychogenic amnesia is distinct from organic amnesia?

Amnesia is the total or partial loss of memory and can affect different types of memory (Madan, 2011). In order to be able to help those with amnesia using the best treatment, the different forms of amnesia need to be understood correctly. In knowing this, the treatment can be designed around the type of amnesia, with the cause, symptoms and ways to help becoming more specific and focused. By studying the diseases and improving our knowledge of the roles that memory plays we can increase our understanding of the brain structures and how the types of memory fit together. In this essay I am going to look at Psychogenic Amnesia (PA) and Organic Amnesia (OA), …show more content…

Instead stress or other psychological factors trigger the amnesia (McKay & Kopelman, 2009). The characteristics include retrograde amnesia (RA): the inability to remember memories previously made. This tends to affect the few years before the onset of amnesia and spares more distant memories (Reed & Squire 1998). Another symptom is slight anterograde amnesia (AA): the inability to form new memories. AA is a minor impairment within PA (Kritchevsky, Chang & Squire, 2004). The most significant indication of PA is the loss of personal identity and autobiographical memories (Serra et al., 2007). OA is caused by brain damage (Madan, 2011). The main characteristic of OA is severe AA. Patients also suffer from RA, with the severity of this varying between patients (Serra et al., 2007). The main difference between these two types of amnesia is the cause: one is psychological; the other is biological. In brain imaging scans PA patients display no sign of brain damage while OA patients’ scans always exhibit brain damage (Reed & Squire, 1998). In PA, it is psychological stresses that trigger memory loss, for example, events such as bereavement, financial issues or having a history of psychiatric illness or receiving a mild head injury (Kritchevsky et al., …show more content…

(2007) all underwent neuroradiological and neurophysiological exams to determine the presence of brain damage and confirm the form of amnesia they had. The results were consistent in that the case study with PA showed no brain damage while the OA case studies did show brain damage in the frontal lobes and hippocampus. Yet, only one PA case study is looked at while there are two OA cases in the Serra et al. (2007) paper, this isn’t a large sample. A problem encountered with finding case studies to compare is that individuals suffering from the amnesia being investigated can be rare and so finding larger samples is very difficult. This can lead to generalizability

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