Visiting A Memory Specialist

The Habit Of Forgetting

Do you sometimes find yourself going to your refrigerator, opening the door, and then staring inside and wondering what it is you wanted? If you want this to stop then just simply make an connection the instant you think of what it is you want from the refrigerator.

If you want a glass of milk, see yourself opening the refrigerator door and gallons of milk flying out and hitting you in the face! Try this idea, and you’ll never stare into a refrigerator again. That’s all there is to it. It’s like grabbing your mind by the scruff of the neck and forcing it to think of a particular thing at a specific moment.

Force yourself to do it at first, and it will become usual before you know it. Forming these links may hit you as a waste of time. You won’t feel that way once you’ve tried using the idea. You’ll see, after a short while, that the ludicrous pictures are formed in hardly any time at all. Even more significant is the time that you’ll be saving.

Diagnosing a memory problem is often a detective problem. If you give him more of the clues, you can help yourself and help your physician help you. So I suggest that you, and if possible someone who is close to you and who knows you reasonably well help provide the essential information to your doctor.

What type of doctor should you go see?

Sometimes people want to go directly to a memory specialist. But usually you should go to your primary care doctor first. Even though your family practitioner or internist may not be an expert in memory itself, before you see a memory specialist, you will still need a basic medical check up, and assurances that there are no problems with the rest of your body that could cause memory loss.

How does the doctor check your memory for problems?

How your memory is checked will depend upon what you complain about, and what problems your physician recognizes. Memory checking should at least include an interview about what the problem is and if possible, from both your point of view and that of others close to you.

Testing of memory and connected functions can take from five minutes to two hours or more. Not only should memory be checked, but also other mental functions as well. These may include vocabulary, arithmetic ability, your ability to draw a set of figures, and the like.

These tests will give your doctor a sense of your skills, and can help determine if you have problems in areas other than memory. This is important for diagnosing conditions such as Alzheimer’s, since Alzheimer’s disease usually affects more than just memory.

Generally speaking, the longer the testing, the more consistent and precise it is likely to be. You will find that a single visit that includes two to three hours of testing is usually both necessary and sufficient for giving an accurate clinical diagnosis, to the extent that is possible from a single visit in most clinics.

Memory testing might be done through the offices of a neurologist, psychiatrist, or clinical psychologist with special expertise in neuropsychology.

Medical interpretation of the results of memory testing, however, requires a physician. This could be your own primary care provider, a neurologist, specialist in geriatric medicine, or psychiatrist. What matters most is whether the physician has experience with memory disorders in general and with the specific kinds of memory disorders that you might have.

This may well be the physician who specializes in Alzheimer’s. Sometimes, it takes the concerted efforts of several physicians and other medical care providers, working together, to sufficiently understand an individual’s case and give him or her best probable advice. No matter who you see, be prepared for the fact that it may not be likely to have a definitive answer on your first visit.

Although the visit will undoubtedly give you more information about your condition, it may be essential to wait a year or more to see if anything objectively changes with your memory. Keeping track of changes is usually very helpful for diagnosing the particular problem you are having.



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