Overview

Amnesia refers to the loss of memories, such as facts, information and experiences. Though forgetting your identity is a common plot device in movies and television, that's not generally the case in real-life amnesia.

Instead, people with amnesia — also called amnestic syndrome — usually know who they are. But, they may have trouble learning new information and forming new memories.

Amnesia can be caused by damage to areas of the brain that are vital for memory processing. Unlike a temporary episode of memory loss (transient global amnesia), amnesia can be permanent.

There's no specific treatment for amnesia, but techniques for enhancing memory and psychological support can help people with amnesia and their families cope.