What can cause severe memory loss? (I’m writing a screenplay)?

I’m writing a screenplay and need some help.

The hero of the story is suppose to wake up in his bedroom with complete memory loss. (Aside from basic motor skills, speech, etc.) I want my character to still be able to function and understand the world but I want for him to forget who he is and all the people he knew. By the end of the story I want him to either remember who he was or become someone new without experiencing further problems.

Can someone give me any ideas of a real medical condition that would work for this character?

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  • Stroke. A friend of mine is similar to that, though his stroke only affected his short-term memory and long-term memory since that accident. I never knew him before his stroke but it took him about months of interacting with me for long periods almost every day to even recognize me when he saw me. Stuff will eventually sink into his long-term memory but it takes forever. His short-term memory problems are fascinating. He will randomly blank every few minutes and have no idea what is happening. It’s actually kind of helpful to me because he has a good sense of humor but no memory of any jokes I tell him. So I can over the course of an hour repeat the same joke – times and he will hear it every time as the first time he’s ever heard the joke. Very useful for learning exactly how to phrase and say a joke. He knows who he is and can go into great detail about his life before his stroke (like a normal person) but he remembers almost nothing since then.

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    His lifeline is closely-held routines (he always goes to the same places) so that even though he forgets what he initially planned to do, he can make it up as he goes along. His other lifeline is a notebook that contains his entire life that he takes everywhere. I have a page in there, as does just about everything and anything else that matters to him. He doesn’t make long term memories except in rare circumstances but if he writes it down there he has a way to look it up.

    It’s a pretty brutal condition. He can’t effectively hold a job. He can’t even make sense of a movie. Actually, if you wanted to understand his condition, watch a great action flick called Momento. Exact same condition and it’s shown perfectly (though my friend doesn’t kill people). A Thousand First Dates is also about this problem.

    EDIT: And it doesn’t necessarily need to be a stroke. Baseball bat to the head, bad car crash, etc… anything with a good whack to the head could create effects just like a stroke.

  • There are a lot of medical conditions that could create massive memory loss. A brain tumor, blunt trauma <— something falls on his head or he falls on his head can be reasons for this; but, reading through your questions and the details you might want to create some sequence that might make it more interesting. Depending on the age and personality of your character some things might work pretty well. Hmmmm, what about a psychological trauma like he witnessed a graphic crime or was abused or he did something really bad like murder or something <—- at the extreme these things can trigger the mind to shut off what happened hence making him forget everything and making it also possible for him to remember things once these memories are triggered later on.

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    good luck and hope this helped!


  • Amnesia. It’s called, Amnesia. Lots of things can cause it from brain tumors to Alzheimer’s or Dementia. A simple knock to the head or a traumatic psychological experience can trigger spontaneous memory loss.

    Also, there are medications that have the side effect of short term memory loss! Usually in adults. There are vitamin deficiencies and allergies that can also have short and long term memory loss!

    Source(s): Nursing student.

  • Good query. I do not know if it’s the most effective motive of reminiscence loss with humans who’ve smoked plenty. I appear at humans like Willy Nelson, who appears two times his age. He admits to heavy use however to this point nonetheless does concert events & is kicking round. On the opposite hand Bob Dillon has utterly misplaced it. Who smoked probably the most? Who is aware of. All I understand with alzeimers (spelling?), on the upward thrust, it is not valued at taking the hazard of including a further supply of reminiscence loss. Am no longer towards marijuana for melanoma sufferers if it is helping with urge for food.

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  • Something dropped on head? Near death drowning? Hit by lightning? Shot/hit to the head? Life threatening disease.

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