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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: memory loss...psychological or medical?

 Epona2172 - Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:22 pm

I have a question...but first I will attempt to make my extremely long story short. Several years I was misdiagnosed as having Bipolar I. The medications I was given at the time became toxic in my body and I became extremely sick. Now it has been determined I never had Bipolar but that the medications made me sick. I am now 33 years old and the only medication I take is Seroquel (25 mg a day) for insomnia. My memories of my past are very limited...if I told you about my personal history (from memory alone) for the last 30 years, it would be about a 30 minute tape, everything else is blank, both good and bad memories. Most of the so-called "memories" I do have, are from me reading my own reflections from my journals. I have frequent feelings of non reality, like what I I am dreaming. I also have periods of...the only way I can describe them is that it's like I pass out, but I am fully awake the entire time. For example, the other day I was cleaning my house and the next thing I know I am across town at the local grocery store. I have no memory of driving to the store or anything. Many years--almost my entire past is blank. I having trouble recalling both long term and short term memory. Can someone please direct me on where to go to try to find out what this might be? Any advice on where I should go would be greatly appreciated. One other thing, I don't remember if I could remember the past before my misdiagnosis.
 carolannah - Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:30 pm

Hello Epona,

Sorry to hear you are having difficulty. Since you are currently being prescribed Seroquel it might be wise to check in with your prescribing physician to discuss this issue. You may be experiencing a side effect of the medication although 25mg a day is a very low end dosage. Are you taking this medication in the mornings when you wake up or at night when you are heading off to bed? Usually a medication which brings about a sedative effect or is prescribed for sleep should be taken at bedtime.

Check in with your doctor to rule out any other possible causes of your memory deficit.

I hope this has been of some help.

 Epona2172 - Wed Jan 11, 2006 12:50 am

Hey Carol,
Thanks for your reply. I did go to my doctor with my concern...he sent me to a neurologist who did all kinds of tests. The only thing the neurologist could tell me was that I am photosensitive (I don't have photosensitive seizures though) that could cause my dreamy states while driving. (It only happens when sunlight is flickering on the windshield...I never put the two together before my last post). As for the memory loss, he didn't have any answers and that 25mg of Seroquel should not be the cause for as much of a memory impairment that I have. All tests that were given to me showed up normal, except for the photosensitivity that doesn't explain memory loss. Also, I have been disabled for the last 4 years, due to memory loss. (I just failed my second review by Social was a memory test).

As for your question about when I take Seroquel, I take it at bedtime for insomnia.

Thanks for responding.

 ChristaB - Wed Jan 11, 2006 1:28 pm

Hi Epona,

I'm new here, so hope this posts correctly!

Just wondering, is it possible that something traumatic happened to you that has erased your memory, as sort of a defense mechanism?

Also, as for me, depression & anxiety have disturbed my memory.

Just some thoughts....

Hope you feel better.

 jellyfishattack - Thu Feb 16, 2006 8:47 pm

User avatar Go back to the dr who prescribed the seroquel, presumably he's a psychiatrist.

I can't believe seroquel actually puts you to sleep. I took 50mg before bedtime but the effect lasted 3 days. The idea was to try seroquel as it might improve my mood further and ease my insomnia. Didn't work, but it did make me as forgetful as an early stage alzheimer's patient. Mind you I was also on wellbutrin and cipralex.
 almostdied - Sat May 30, 2009 6:38 am

Hi, I most certainly believe that Seroquel causes memory loss. I have always had an amazing memory. Friends and family are constantly (or were) commenting on how good my memory was. I have been on Wellbutrin for over 15 years and it has been very helpful. I also have Type 1 insulin dependent diabetes (26 years). I take about 4 insulin injections/day. One of long acting insulin Lantus (20 units /day) and 3 of short acting insulin Humalog (2-4 units/per shot max).
I started taking Seroquel and Lamictal on the advice of a county psychiatrist (I have no insurance) last July. I stopped taking the Lamictal in early October because it made me sick and hot and sweaty all the time with swollen face and big lips. The big lips were nice and pretty but the fat swollen face sorta cancelled out the gain in beauty from the big lips. I kept up with the Seroquel and on Thanksgiving almost died because I accidentally took my 20 units of my (max 2-4 unit shot) of Humalog(very strong fast acting insulin that you take in very small doses. I got confused and forgetful and took 20 units of it, thinking I was taking my Lantus (20unit dose). I had to go to the ER and get intravenous glucose administered so I wouldn't die. I did the same thing in January and almost died again.
Two days ago, I forgot that I had already taken my daily dose of 20 units of Lantus insulin (I have no recollection of taking that shot at all) and took it again a couple hours later(so twice what I was supposed to take). This time, because it was a long acting insulin, the intravenous sugar at the hospital wouldn't work so well so I had to eat a 400 calorie fatty sugary cheese bear claw and a 200 calorie fatty sugary drink every 2 hours for 30 hours so 15 400 calorie bear claws and 15 200 calorie drinks in 1 day and 1/4 and I had to do it because if I didnt, I would have died. It was very sickening and I just hoped to God that I wouldn't throw up or have diarrhea and lose the calories/carbohydrates I so desperately needed to keep alive. All in all I had to eat 9000 calories in 1 day and 6 hours. Seroquel has now almost cost me my life 3 times.
I will not be taking it any more and I recommend other people not to take it if they are interested in hanging on to their memory. Memory is important. Lack of memory can cost a person their life. I also do not have much recollection of my childhood or anything else for that matter. Maybe some people would not have problems with this medication, but as I said, I have had diabetes 26 years and I have never ever overdosed or mis given a shot until these 3 times in the last 6 mos.
I was prescribed these to sleep and now, if I can't sleep, I will just take Excedrin PM or Tylenol PM or Red Clover tea, or Melatonin or Valerian Root. I have also found that a lot of heavy weight lifting type exercise in the early part of the day works very well too.

Seroquel is very dangerous.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:33 pm

Hello almostdied,

You have certainly been given lots of advice! While your symptoms could be related to medication, they are most descriptive of petit mal seizures. Please see a neurologist if your symptoms continue.

Good luck.
 batgrl - Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:41 pm

OK So I've been having SOME similar ayptoms, but was wondering if I could possbily get help on here.

I have been diagnosed as BPD, Agorophobic, Panic Disorder, OCD tendencies, etc, but have not had any problems since I was pregnant, with the BPD, and we suspect ADHD, but I havne't yet been tested. Everything else I still deal with, but I honestly hate being on medication. It makes me feel defective (as if how I feel isn't already bad enough I have HORRID self esteem). And I had a breast reduction sirgery in June 2009 to help my back issues, but here's my sypmtoms:

Headaches (sometimes 3 per day) in either my temples, or like that hard spot over your ears

Memory loss mainly short term, some long term


Sometimes at night (not every night random nights) I have trouble seeing the TV at the foot of my bed...? It's focused but a little blurry

Periods where I feel that I'm dreaming, but am awake, I often find myself asking in my head "Am I really here? IS this happening?"

Periods where it feels like my brain has completely turned off (like I can't think at all)

I have been having more problems trying to "find" the words to say, and will sometimes get confused at what I"m trying to say and will get lost or will change words in the middle of speaking several times before I feel it's correct

I have like, speech dyslexia, and I mix my words around when talking

The extreme inability to concentrate, and it's getting worse

Trouble sleeping/falling asleep/stayng asleep

Does anyone know what htis could be at all? I'm terrified to go to my onbase doctor (hubby is military), and I just would like another opinion before I go in (esp. since my base doctor isn't the greatest, and I can't switch). Thanks so much! Any advice is greatly appreciated.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:33 pm

Hello batgrl and others,

I apologize for how late this response is. I hope your situations have all resolved or improved. I'll try to provide some information that may be useful to you and to others who read the posts.

Memory loss can be caused by many different things, as your posts have noted. Possible medications effects, certain psychological disorders, stroke, certain seizure activity, traumatic pasts or events, and neurological conditions can all cause or contribute to memory problems. Identifying the cause can only be done through medical channels. Psychological evaluation, complete physical examination, and/or neurological evaluation are usually required. It's a good idea to at least try to discuss your concerns with your doctor, and ask about a referral for further evaluation or a second opinion. Sometimes it's as easy as having a change in medication. Other times, it's not so easy, but it's still worth the effort, to improve comfort and the quality of life.

Good luck to all of you.

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