There are those days when you can’t seem to remember even the simplest things, like where you put your keys, or that you had a doctor’s appointment. Forgetfulness happens to us all, as suggested by the “holiday” on July 2nd dedicated to the problem, “I Forgot Day.”
But when you forget things on a daily basis, it might be a sign of a more serious mental or physical health problem. Experts have information on what could be causing your forgetfulness, and how to improve your memory.
Tammy Whitten, a licensed marriage and family therapist, said in an email that stress and anxiety can be main causes for forgetfulness.
“Women tend to multitask and can organize and juggle so many things in their lives simultaneously, which can lead to forgetfulness and an occasional oversight,” Whitten said. “Lack of self-care is also a contributing factor to forgetfulness.”
“Our brains are the most powerful computer on the planet, and just like a power socket can overload, our brains can, too,” she added. “When someone tries to do too much or has a crisis situation, it's easy to forget things.”
She said stressful events like moving, divorce, sick family members, chaotic afternoons and financial stress can all lead to forgetfulness.
“Whenever anyone is going through a stressful situation, it's easy to not be able to take information or process things appropriately,” Whitten said.
There are some mental disorders that are associated with forgetfulness as well. For example, women who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder can experience memory problems.
“The brain is natural at blocking out as much pain as it can for survival,” Whitten said. “This includes details of the traumatic events and other events that happen in the future that bring up similar feelings of fear, reacting, and helplessness.”
Anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder can lead to forgetfulness too.
“Anytime your body feels anxious, its ability to accurately interpret and process information is compromised, making it harder to recall things,” she said.