Anxiety aggravates strong feelings of fear and worry. You worry about things or situations you cannot control or change. In some cases, a severe case can lead to nervousness, eventually affecting mental health. Many people with anxiety realize that it takes a toll on their memory, such that they forget important things like birthdays. This often leads to conflict in their relationships. Once anxiety takes up most of your mental energy, you cannot remember even the small details. You even forget daily tasks like cooking, driving, or parenting. Are you wondering how anxiety leads to memory issues? Here are more details to help you understand.
How Does Anxiety Impact Memory?
Anxiety takes up most of your working memory. In that case, you are unable to remember key details in life. You may have difficulty remembering details like:
- Conversations you have had with other people
- Directions to places
- Dates, etc.
Anxiety-related memory loss may happen as a result of different factors. Such include:
Lack of Enough Sleep
Anxiety makes it hard to get enough sleep. You may lie awake for a long time replaying anxious thoughts or might have nightmares. Without enough sleep, you might feel distracted, foggy, and unable to concentrate. Remember, lack of adequate sleep has serious consequences like memory loss. This is because sleep is crucial for brain function. Taking the best supplements for memory with your diet and ensuring you are getting enough sleep can help alleviate the symptoms and improve memory.
High Level of Cortisol
Another way anxiety affects memory is the high cortisol level produced due to stress. Cortisol is a stress hormone produced to help the body cope. Having the right level of cortisol can help create memories. However, too much of it can be harmful and negatively affect. If you have severe or chronic anxiety, you may have high levels of cortisol that keep your body in a fight and flight mode. This can greatly affect how your brain processes and stores memory.
Pushing Away Unwanted Memories
Many people with distressing and traumatic memories tend to push them away. If you have traumatizing memories that affect how you function, you may want to suppress or block them to cope. You may not forget events but refuse to think about them. This can blur the details and cause the memory to fade away. Suppressing memories may seem like a good thing. However, it will not help deal with the problem. Addressing anxiety and its source to prevent memory loss and low concentration is crucial.
If you are suffering from anxiety, you might experience panic attacks due to too much worrying about something. You may have difficulty remembering what happened before and after the attack. That means you have panic-related memory loss. Panic attacks come quickly and may elevate other symptoms like sweating, numbness, racing heart, difficulty breathing, choking, the feeling of doom, etc. You must get help as soon as possible if you have episodes of panic attacks due to anxiety.
The Bottom Line
Loss of memory can affect how you carry out your daily activities. If you have memory loss due to anxiety, learning coping skills and finding help is important. As your anxiety improves, you may notice your memory improves too.