The Veteran seeks entitlement to service connection for a cognitive disability manifested by short-term memory loss, claimed to be due to his exposure at Camp Lejeune to PCE/TCE contaminated water.
VA disability ratings are based on symptoms ranging from 0% to 100% of your occupational and social functioning.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) develops after a traumatic event that causes distress and impacts your daily life. It can occur after a car accident, physical or sexual assault, war-related events, or natural disasters. Symptoms can include avoiding people, places, or thoughts that remind you of the traumatic event, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, trouble concentrating, anger, and negative beliefs about yourself and others.
PTSD memory problems affect everyday functioning and can impact your ability to engage in psychological treatment. They may also result in social isolation and a lack of support from friends or family members.
Moreover, the VA disability rating for short term memory loss is determined by evaluating the severity of the condition and its impact on a veteran’s daily functioning, considering factors such as memory impairment, cognitive limitations, and overall impairment in daily life activities.
Research has shown that PTSD symptoms may contribute to memory impairments by affecting working memory and impairing verbal fluency. However, memory deficits are not exclusive to PTSD and can be related to other psychiatric conditions that often co-occur with PTSD, such as depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders. The good news is that regular mental exercises and brain games can slow cognitive decline.
Veterans who have PTSD or TBI are at high risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s. A generic word for memory loss that impairs thinking, language, and problem-solving skills to the point where it interferes with day-to-day activities is dementia.
This Veteran’s claims are based on his service connection for a cognitive disability manifested by short-term memory loss, claimed to be due to his exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. He is also seeking entitlement to an initial rating of 30 percent for his psychiatric disability and a determination that he is unemployable as a result of the disabilities above.
A diagnosis of PTSD or TBI often leads to a psychiatric condition like depression or anxiety. Anxiety and depression can lead to memory problems. These conditions are treatable with medications and counseling. However, some people with these mental health issues don’t receive the help they need. When this happens, they may miss benefits that could help them and their families.
Anxiety can cause all kinds of physical symptoms, including a rapid heart rate, palpitations, loss of appetite, and the old “butterflies in your stomach.” But it can also impair your memory. Researchers have found that anxiety can cause your brain to work overtime and become “fatigued,” making it harder for it to CBA (consolidate, associate, and amplify) memories.
The threat of shock-induced decrements in memory accuracy is on par with those seen in anxious patients, while other induction methods and dispositionally anxious subjects produce only capacity deficits.
Fortunately, anxiety-related memory issues are not permanent. With time and commitment to treatment, your memory should improve as your anxiety levels decrease. In the meantime, focusing on getting adequate sleep, managing caffeine and alcohol intake, staying well hydrated, and not taking any herbal remedies that haven’t been adequately tested could help. It would help if you discussed these things with your doctor before beginning any treatment plan.
Depression is associated with memory problems, particularly in the form of forgetfulness and confusion. One study found that people with depression performed worse on a series of memory and thinking tests than those who were not depressed.
However, it’s essential to understand that this type of memory loss is not dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Instead, it’s most commonly a symptom of depression.
Studies suggest that depression causes changes in the structure of the brain, specifically the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory formation. In addition, certain antidepressants, such as tricyclics (which are not typically prescribed anymore because of their adverse side effects), may cause memory loss and cognitive dysfunction.
If you suspect that depression is causing your memory issues, speak to your primary care doctor. They can refer you to a mental health provider or help you find a therapist online using BetterHelp. In general, depression-induced memory problems usually improve with the help of treatment.