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A 24-year-old female asked:

I've been experiencing memory loss from the past few years that i think is due to rape as well as sexual abuse. i just can't remember things. ptsd?

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 43 years experience
Possibly: In ptsd, it's possible to focus so much on potential danger that you don't register other information -- & then can't recall it later. I'm sorry you've had these traumatic experiences, yet recovery is also possible. Please get an evaluation from a skilled psychiatrist first. S/he will review all your symptoms with you, check for other causes of memory disturbance, & recommend next steps.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Arthur Ciaramicoli
Clinical Psychology 46 years experience
PTSD: So very sorry to hear that you had to endure such abuse, and yes it does sound like ptsd. Please consult a clinical psychologist who can help you overcome your fears and help you move past the tragedies you experienced. You can likely be helped and it is too much to cope with alone. I wish you the best.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 45 years experience
Big picture first: There is a "pop" school of non-evidence-based therapy that teaches that people with emotional difficulties have been subjected to terrible and often bizarre abuse that they have subsequently forgotten. The truth is that when there is corroborating evidence (for example, dad kills mom in view of the kids), the kids remember. Impaired memory needs a neurologist's evaluation first.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 45 years experience
Provided original answer
We also know that many people who have had bad experiences put them out of their mind and find them to be a source of confusion. Whatever the reason, I hope you are able to piece your thoughts and your whole life together.
Mar 29, 2014
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 43 years experience
The "Big picture" would involve not only a neurologist, but also an experienced psychiatrist familiar with the presentations of memory disturbances caused by many different issues. Also, trauma is not necessarily accompanied by "corroborating evidence" from perpetrators. For instance, people without siblings might not be able to provide the proof you seek. Suffering requires help, period.
Mar 29, 2014
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 45 years experience
Provided original answer
Exactly. Relieving the suffering is the key. I hope that if it is true that terrible wrongs were done to you, that you will be able to move onward.
Mar 30, 2014
Last updated May 28, 2016

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