Dissociative Amnesia? It Might be Organic Memory Loss!

Marko Jelicic*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This article discusses the possibility of practitioners who mistake organic memory loss for dissociative amnesia. It starts with the case of a young man with complete retrograde amnesia due to a traumatic head injury. Because he did not show any gross neurological abnormalities, a neurologist thought his amnesia had a psychological origin. An extensive neuropsychological examination revealed that the man did have an organic reason for his amnesia. Next, the existence of dissociative memory loss as well as isolated organic retrograde amnesia is considered. While cases of organic memory loss are well-documented, there is hardly any evidence for dissociative amnesia. It is argued that organic memory loss might be mistakenly taken for dissociative amnesia. In line with the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, practitioners are advised to rule out the possibility of organic memory loss, before diagnosing a patient with dissociative amnesia.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalTopics in Cognitive Science
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Feb 2023

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