What Are the Causes of Forgetfulness?

Forgetfulness is very vexing. The tiny details of life may be lost in a haze of forgetfulness that clouds the mind. This problem occurs in most age groups. From children to elderly, all people have moments when they realize they forgot something minor or, worse, some major detail that has vast importance.


Aging is one cause of the development of forgetfulness. Aging impacts the ability to remember details, stay on top of where every little thing is in the home and the speed at which learning occurs. As you age a certain amount of patience is needed to handle the inevitable memory lapses that occur.

Poor Nutrition

Inadequate nutrition is another cause of forgetfulness. When the body and brain do not get adequate energy and nutrients from food intake it impacts the function of the brain. Poverty too often causes problems with health.


Dementia causes forgetfulness and disorientation. It damages cognitive ability and memory to a level that often impedes ability to function independently. Dementia is an umbrella term that encompasses disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease causes permanent damage to nerve cells in the brain. As cells die, cognitive function decreases and forgetfulness increases. Alzheimer’s disease often causes an inability to remember who family members are and problems with driving, judgment and tasks of life, notes the National Institute on Aging.

Brain Tumor

A brain tumor is another possible cause of forgetfulness. A tumor’s growth may crowd against brain tissue and impede function of certain areas of the brain that impact memory.

Depression and Stress

Depression and stress impact the mind. A depressive state clouds cognitive ability and increases bouts of forgetfulness.

B12 Deficiency

B12 deficiency causes forgetfulness. This vitamin is crucial to cognitive skills. Ensuring that the vitamin is consumed in food or taken as a supplement helps to alleviate the forgetfulness that occurs if a deficiency arises.

Head Injury

A head injury can also be a factor in forgetfulness. Any bang to the head or piercing wound can damage brain function.

Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment

Another cause of forgetfulness is amnestic mild cognitive impairment. This disorder causes problems with remembering information. The condition is not severe enough to impede ability to function at daily activities. However, this condition does raise the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

About this Author

Julia Bodeeb worked on staff in medical book/journal publishing for over a decade as a reporter, managing editor, and book acquisitions. She is now a writer at Bright Hub, Associated Content, and Seed. Ms. Bodeeb has a B.A. in English and postgraduate credits in psychology and law. She won a Pulitzer Center Global Issues/Citizen Voices Award in 2008.