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Amnesia vs. Dementia: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 21, 2024
Amnesia is the loss of memories or inability to form new ones, while dementia is a broader decline in mental function, often including memory loss.

Key Differences

Amnesia primarily involves memory loss or difficulty in forming new memories. Dementia, on the other hand, encompasses a broader range of cognitive impairments, including memory loss, but also affecting reasoning, communication, and problem-solving abilities.
Amnesia is often caused by brain injury, trauma, or diseases affecting the brain. Dementia can be caused by various conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, vascular issues, and progressive neurological disorders.
Amnesia, depending on its cause, may be reversible or stable. Dementia generally involves a progressive decline in cognitive functions, often worsening over time.
Amnesia can occur at any age, often related to specific events or injuries. Dementia is more common in older adults, though early-onset forms exist.
Treatment for amnesia focuses on coping strategies and addressing the underlying cause. Dementia treatment involves managing symptoms, slowing progression, and providing supportive care.

Comparison Chart

Primary Symptom

Memory loss or difficulty forming new memories
Broad cognitive decline, including memory loss

Typical Causes

Brain injury, trauma, specific diseases
Alzheimer's, vascular issues, neurological disorders

Age of Onset

Can occur at any age
More common in older adults


May be reversible or stable
Typically progressive

Treatment and Management

Coping strategies, treating underlying cause
Symptom management, slowing progression

Amnesia and Dementia Definitions


Amnesia is a condition involving memory loss.
After the accident, he suffered from amnesia, unable to recall his family.


Dementia is a chronic or progressive disorder affecting mental processes.
Dementia gradually impaired her ability to care for herself.


Amnesia refers to the inability to recall past experiences.
The movie's protagonist experiences amnesia, forgetting his entire childhood.


Dementia encompasses impairments in reasoning, judgment, and communication.
Dementia affected his judgment, making daily decisions challenging.


Amnesia involves impaired memory retrieval.
Due to amnesia, he couldn’t remember his college years.


Dementia is a decline in cognitive function.
Her grandmother's dementia made it hard for her to recognize familiar faces.


Amnesia is the loss of ability to form new memories.
She developed amnesia and couldn't remember anything after her surgery.


Dementia involves memory loss and difficulties with thinking.
The early signs of his dementia included forgetting names and appointments.


Amnesia is a deficit in memory caused by brain damage or psychological trauma.
The soldier returned with amnesia, a result of the traumatic events he experienced.


Dementia is a syndrome often associated with aging, affecting memory, attention, and problem-solving skills.
As dementia progressed, she found even simple tasks confusing.


Loss of memory, usually resulting from shock, psychological disturbance, brain injury, or illness.


Loss of cognitive abilities, including memory, concentration, communication, planning, and abstract thinking, resulting from brain injury or from a disease such as Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease. It is sometimes accompanied by emotional disturbance and personality changes.


(pathology) Loss of memory; forgetfulness.


(pathology) A progressive decline in cognitive function due to damage or disease in the brain beyond what might be expected from normal aging. Areas particularly affected include memory, attention, judgement, language and problem solving.


(figurative) Forgetfulness.
A state of cultural amnesia


Madness or insanity.


A potent sativa-dominant strain of marijuana.


Insanity; madness; esp. that form which consists in weakness or total loss of thought and reason; mental imbecility; idiocy.


Forgetfulness; also, a defect of speech, from cerebral disease, in which the patient substitutes wrong words or names in the place of those he wishes to employ.


Mental deterioration of organic or functional origin


Partial or total loss of memory;
He has a total blackout for events of the evening


Does amnesia affect a person's intelligence?

Amnesia typically doesn't impact general intelligence or awareness.

Is amnesia always permanent?

Not always. Some forms are temporary, especially when caused by trauma.

What causes amnesia?

Causes include brain injuries, certain diseases, or psychological trauma.

Can dementia be cured?

There is currently no cure, but treatments can manage symptoms.

Can amnesia be treated?

Treatment depends on the cause, ranging from medical intervention to cognitive therapy.

What is amnesia?

Amnesia is a condition characterized by memory loss or the inability to form new memories.

Can young people get amnesia?

Yes, amnesia can affect individuals of any age.

How is amnesia diagnosed?

Through medical history, cognitive tests, and sometimes brain imaging.

Are memory lapses a sign of dementia?

Occasional memory lapses are normal, but frequent memory loss could be a sign.

Is dementia a normal part of aging?

While risk increases with age, it's not a normal part of aging.

What is dementia?

Dementia is a broad term for decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.

What are common causes of dementia?

Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and brain injuries are common causes.

How does dementia affect behavior?

It can lead to changes in personality, mood swings, and decreased social skills.

Are there different types of amnesia?

Yes, including retrograde (loss of past memories) and anterograde (inability to form new memories).

What lifestyle changes can help with dementia?

Healthy diet, regular exercise, and mental stimulation can be beneficial.

How can families support a member with dementia?

Through emotional support, creating a safe environment, and seeking professional care.

Is amnesia common after brain surgery?

It can occur, particularly if areas of the brain involved in memory are affected.

Does dementia always include memory loss?

Memory loss is common but not the only symptom of dementia.

Can certain medications cause amnesia?

Some medications can affect memory, particularly in higher doses or in older adults.

Is it possible to prevent dementia?

While not always preventable, a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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