Have you been forgetting appointments or misplacing your keys frequently? Memory loss can be a troubling thing to experience. If the problem is getting worse, you might be concerned you are going to have Alzheimer’s disease. However, this is not the only condition or health problem that can cause forgetfulness. Memory loss can occur at any age for various reasons.

There are numerous causes of memory loss, including head injuries, medications and mental illnesses. Here is a look at how these issues can result in memory problems.

1. Head injuries

A blow to the head can cause a wide array of cognitive complications, including memory loss, trouble concentrating and confusion. Whether you fell to the ground and have a mild concussion or you got into a car accident and have severe brain trauma, it could be the answer to your difficulty remembering things. Head injuries may cause short- or long-term memory loss.

2. Medications

If you take over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications for health problems, you might think they are only helping you. Unfortunately, they can affect your memory. Potential troublesome medications include:

  • Allergy medications (antihistamines)
  • Sleeping pills
  • Anti-depressants
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Diabetes medications
  • Cholesterol-reducing medications
  • Certain painkillers
  • Muscle relaxants

That being said, be sure to consult with your doctor or pharmacist before stopping or starting any medication.

3. Mental illnesses

Severe stress and anxiety can result in attention and memory difficulties. If you are tense and stressed out, your brain may become distracted or overstimulated, affecting your ability to recall information. Depression can also affect your ability to focus. If you are able to ease your stress or get treatment for anxiety or depression, your memory could improve.

Memory loss is a tricky thing to understand. There are so many different possibilities and it is important to not jump to any conclusion without talking to your doctor. You can read more about different causes of memory loss at WebMD.