Bipolar and Memory Loss: What Can You Do to Help Your Memory?

Sammi AdamsSammi Adams
Oct 27, 2017

Some people with bipolar disorder may find they are having problems remembering important details. If you find yourself frequently forgetting about plans you’ve made with friends, daily to-do tasks or when you’re in the middle of conversing with others, Sammi has some tips on how to cope with bipolar memory loss.

Bipolar and Memory Loss

Someone who has bipolar disorder might have trouble remembering details.

For example, remembering the next word in a sentence or what they were doing in that moment. It can happen when you’re trying to do things, when you’re trying to recall something or when you are trying to store some new information.

You’ll have trouble with word retrieval. If you’re having a conversation with someone, you might have a problem thinking of the word you were going to say next. Or you might have difficulties with planning things, likely you’ll forget what you were doing.

Also, you might have trouble retaining what you are reading or what you just listened Be. You’ll just forget it immediately. This is not a big problem for some people. It can be mild for some people who have bipolar and very troublesome for other people with bipolar disorder.

What Can You Do About Helping Your Memory?

Some medications will help a lot with memory, while other medications can make it worse. For example, antipsychotics or anxiety medication might make your memory worse.

Mood stabilizers will sometimes make your memory better because the symptoms will often coincide with actual episodes because the symptoms of depression and mania can directly interfere with your working memory.

For example, if you are manic your thoughts will be racing so quickly. Your brain doesn’t have a chance to store and encode your thoughts because there are just too many running thoughts happening. In that sense, you can have trouble recalling what you did or said during a manic episode. The same goes for psychosis.

You will be so out of touch with reality that you can’t really remember what’s going on or create new memories. This all has to do with what’s going on in your brain, and it’s not something that you can control.

Be Kind to Yourself

Be kind to yourself or if you know someone who has bipolar and deals with this, be considerate to them because it’s not under your control and it’s not under their control.

Memory loss or problems can be a very frustrating symptom for someone with bipolar to deal with, especially when they deal with it outside of even having episodes. Having trouble remembering what you were doing, your next thought, the following word you were going to say or anything like that. It can be very frustrating.

Keep a List

If you have bipolar and you deal with this symptom, you can keep lists.

I have a whole little notepad, and every single day or at least every other day, and I will go through and write out a list of the things that I have to do.

I typically usually have a whole sheet of paper of to-do lists because I keep in mind the things that I need to do that day or the things that I need to do the next day. The more long-term to-do lists that are over a week or two weeks, also just keeping notes or taking notes of what you need to say.

For example, I make videos, and it can be beneficial for me sometimes to write down things that I’m going to say ahead of time. A lot of times I will get comments on my videos saying that my videos were disorganized, and people will make comments about me saying the wrong word or my grammar might seem kind of off.

If I’m just speaking freely, I will sometimes say mispronounce the word or just use the wrong word that was supposed to come next in the sentence.

Honestly, I like to be raw and real in my videos, so I don’t always write out a script.

Make a Script and Rehearse It

If you have an important interview or a presentation for class or work, it can be really beneficial to make a script and rehearse it, again and again, to make sure that you can recall those things when you need to.

It is also a great way to manage your memory loss, stress levels, and your bipolar symptoms. Definitely be sure to be getting treatment for your disorder, because it can definitely be worse when you’re having an episode.

So when you’re depressed, your thoughts can be very sluggish if you’re not going full-steam mentally. Then of course if you’re manic or psychotic, this can interfere with your working memory as well.

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