We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Effects of Epilepsy on Memory?

By Brian Marchetti
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that causes seizures as a result of abnormal neuronal activity in the brain, which can affect areas of the brain responsible for memory. When an epileptic seizure occurs, the neurotransmitters that connect with the area of the brain that records memories are interrupted. Short-term memory loss after a seizure is quite common — sufferers may not remember where they are or what they were doing; sometimes, complete amnesia can occur for periods of up to an hour. Eventually, reoccurring seizures can cause damage to the memory areas of the brain and result in permanent memory loss. The effects of epilepsy on memory can affect both the areas that store visual memories as well as those that store verbal memories. The long-term effects of epilepsy on memory can result in language and speech difficulties as well. The effects of epilepsy on memory are well documented and those who have the disorder report memory loss more frequently than those who suffer from other neurological problems.

The brain records memories through a process known as encoding. Information is divided into two categories, short-term memory (STM) which recalls information for only a few minutes, and long-term memory (LTM) which stores information for longer periods of time. The brain requires constant monitoring in order for memory to function properly. The occurrence of epileptic episodes causes interruptions in the process.

Memory loss almost always occurs during an epileptic event, but its extent varies from person to person. Those who suffer from intense seizures usually report no memory of the event. Others experience a condition known as anterograde amnesia where the brain loses the ability to process new information. This condition typically resolves itself over time. Ictic amnesia describes an episode where a person interacts normally within their environment during a seizure but has no memory of their interaction.

Over the long term, seizures can cause permanent damage to the brain. Epilepsy normally affects specific areas of the brain, and repeated incidents typically cause damage to the brain tissue. Damage also can occur between seizures because of the constant unusual electric activity in an epileptic brain.

As different areas of the brain suffer from injury, different types of memory loss can occur. A person whose brain is affected on the right side may experience problems with visual memory, whereas damage to the left side affects verbal memory causing limitations in writing and speech. Epilepsy attacking the frontal lobe typically leads to a person’s inability to focus attention.

While a cure for epilepsy remains unknown, there are several treatments that can limit the affects of epilepsy on memory. Doctors typically prescribe anticonvulsants in order to control or completely eliminate seizures, thus preserving brain function and memory. In extreme cases, surgery may be required when medication does little to stop the recurrence of seizures.

Those who suffer from the affects of epilepsy on memory often seek out memory training as well. In general terms, memory improvement is not possible, but training with mnemonics and other memory aids can improve daily living. Training must be individually designed and specialized in order to treat the specific effects of epilepsy on memory.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.