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Psychogenic amnesia also identified as functional amnesia or dissociative amnesia can be defined as “a memory disorder characterized by extreme memory loss that is caused by extensive psychological stress.”
Psychogenic amnesia is defined by:
- The presence of retrograde amnesia (the inability to retrieve stored memories leading up to the onset of amnesia), and
- An absence of anterograde amnesia (the inability to form new long term memories).
There are two types of psychogenic amnesia:
- Global amnesia - also well-known as fugue state, which refers to an unexpected loss of personal identity that lasts a few hours to days, and is normally preceded by rigorous stress and/or disheartened mood. Fugue state is very uncommon, and by and large resolves over time, frequently helped by therapy. There may be a loss of fundamental semantic awareness and procedural skills such as reading and writing.
- Situation-specific - occurs as a consequence of a severely hectic event, as in post-traumatic stress disorder, military warfare, child sex abuse or witnessing a family member's murder or suicide, and is to some extent common in cases of severe and/or repeated trauma.
Treatments given for psychogenic amnesia:
- Psychoanalysis - uses dream analysis, elucidation and additional psychoanalytic methods to recover memories; may perhaps also engage by placing patients in frightening situations where they are besieged with intense emotion.
- Medication and relaxation techniques - in combination with benzodiazepines and additional hypnotic medications, the patient is urged to calm down and tries to recall memories. By means of the help of psychotherapy and learning their autobiographies from family members, the majority patients recuperate their memories completely.
- It has been wished-for that abreaction could be used in concurrence with midazolam to recover memories. This procedure was used during the Second World War but at present is not popular that much. The technique is a consideration to work either “through depressing the function of the cerebral cortex and therefore making the memory more tolerable when expressed or through relieving the strength of an emotion attached to a memory which is so intense it suppresses memory function.
- Is psychotherapy connected to recover the memories of child sexual abuse?
- Is the memory that is recovered being spontaneous?
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