Car Crash? No Memories? Here's why!

Magan Fosso & Monica Jones

Why this topic?

We want to understand why people lose memories after dealing with a harsh tragedies and we would like to help others currently in this position understand what they are dealing with. This could also potentially help others come over or gain these lost memories.

What is post-traumatc amensia?

This is a state of confusion or memory loss after a brain injury. The injured patient is unable to recall event that occur after injury. For example, they can forget when the event happened, who was there, and how they arrived there, or what time it happened.

What is happening in the brain?

Memories just before trauma are commonly lost because of repression and partly because memories are incompletely encoded if it interrupts the normal processes between short term and long term memory. The loss of memories are when there is damage to the frontal and anterior temporal regions. To this date, these cognitive deficits remain poorly understood, but in most patients the brain is intact. Betrayal Trauma Theory proposes that in cases of childhood abuse, dissociation amnesia is an adaptive response, and that victims may need to remain unaware of the trauma to promote survival. Traumatic memories are retrieved in the form of mental imprints of the effective and sensory elements of the traumatic experience.


Post Traumatic Amnesia was described by Russell in 1932 and Symonds in 1937 as a loss in full consciousness and an inability to make new memories or receive old ones. Bessel van der Kolk believed traumatic amnesia involved the loss of memories of traumatic experiences. He stated that retrieval of memories after traumatic amnesia very likely and can be proven through the experiences of combat soldiers, victims of kidnapping, and victims of torture and concentration camp experiences.

Interesting Stuff

Amnesia can vary from from a few day to a few weeks, but i usually disappears during sleep. It happens directly after trauma. You can lose these memories because you're brain want repress unpleasant memories.
Amnesia after a Traumatic Brain Injury