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Symptoms of memory loss and effects after brain injury

All brain injuries are different and will affect an individual in different ways. One of the potential consequences of an injury to the brain is memory loss.

If somebody is experiencing memory loss after a brain injury they may be diagnosed with ‘Amnesia’, which simply means ‘a lack of memory’.

The brain is made up of several structures which are involved in memory, and injury to any of these parts can impair memory performance. Memory loss occurs on different scales and can arise after a mild head injury; the brain may be temporarily impaired, and a person may suffer from headaches, dizziness and fatigue (also known as ‘concussion’).

Symptoms of memory loss

Depending on the severity of the memory loss, there are different symptoms which may be displayed, but generally memory loss would be identified with other problems associated with the brain injury. A person suffering from amnesia may show the following symptoms:

  • An increased difficulty in learning and retaining information of nearly all kinds. This means that the person’s short-term memory is affected, and they would perhaps have difficulty in remembering new information.
  • A difficulty in remembering information which the person knew before the amnesia started; they may remember things which happened a long time ago, but struggle with more recent memories.
  • A normal immediate memory span; they may be able to repeat a short list of numbers or words if there is no delay in-between telling the information and asking the person to repeat it.
  • Entirely normal intellectual abilities; character and reasoning could remain the same as before the amnesia and memory loss may only be the significant difference. For example, a person may have enjoyed playing the piano before their brain injury and after their brain injury can continue to do so.

Effects of memory loss

Memory loss can affect people in different ways. There are three main effects of brain injury:


Some people can ‘slow down’ after a brain injury due to physical impairments which may include:

  • Mobility problems
  • Spasticity
  • Weakness or paralysis
  • Sensory impairment
  • Fatigue
  • Ataxia (problems with co-ordination, balance and speech)
  • Epilepsy.


Cognitive effects of a brain injury affect how the person thinks, learns and remembers, and again this will differ in each case, depending on the nature and severity of the injury.
Common cognitive effects can include:

  • Memory problems
  • Impairments in visual-perceptual skills (the brain’s ability to make sense of what the eyes see)
  • Aphasia (impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write)
  • Reduced initiative and problems with motivation
  • Reduced concentration span
  • Repetition
  • Impaired reasoning
  • Reduced information processing ability
  • Impaired insight and empathy.

Emotional and behavioural

Behavioural changes may be varied depending on where the brain injury has impacted, but generally the effects tend to be an exaggeration of the previous characteristics of a person, however some may seem out of character for that individual.

Common behavioural effects include:

  • Disinhibition (loss of control over behaviour)
  • Impulsiveness
  • Obsessive disorder
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Apathy and loss of initiative
  • Egocentricity (self-centredness)

Our work

We have a specialist team who represent and support clients who have suffered brain injuries of varying severity, from mild to moderate to severe. Such injuries may have been acquired through illness or disease, or as a result of an accident or medical negligence. Our extensive experience tells us that no two brain injuries are the same; each brain is unique, and the effects of brain injury will be different for each person.

In appropriate cases we can undertake an early assessment of an individual’s needs following injury, which is crucial in securing the specialist treatment and rehabilitation needed to maximize an individual’s potential for recovery.

We can also help to coordinate ongoing rehabilitation and support and obtain interim payments to help meet any nursing care or other support, aids and equipment and even accommodation.

If you have any questions or if we can support you in any way, please get in touch for a no obligation consultation.


Your key contacts

Lee Hart

Personal Injury Team Manager

Lee works closely with severely injured people and their families, leading them through the claims process and ensuring they get the best treatment, rehabilitation and care so that they can get their lives back on track as quickly as possible.
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