Memory disorder is one of the psychological issues that several people encounter. These problems range from PTSD to OCD to depression. They all relate to how the brain functions and how memory strengthens.
The brain functions in all possible ways to help in memory strengthening and the ability to recollect information. Although some people find it difficult to recall information that is entirely not their fault, the memory has to be consolidated. This reconsolidation process will then help to achieve a clearer view of events.
This article explains how memory consolidation and memory reconsolidation affect changes in memories.
What is Memory Reconsolidation?
The concept of memory reconsolidation is rooted in the belief that memories can be changed after they have been stored in our long-term memory. It has been studied extensively among cognitive psychologists due to its potential implications for treating anxiety, trauma, and depression-related issues. This method of thought seeks to replace irrational or negative memories with more adaptive cognitive strategies.
At its core, memory reconsolidation involves revisiting an old memory and changing its context in order to form a new understanding of the experience at a neurological level. The old version of the memory thus fades away to make room for a healthier representation of the experience. This may sound simple on the surface, but skeptics point out that studies conducted on these methods either involve animals or provide inconclusive evidence. Furthermore, critics maintain that any changes made through such processes may just be temporary and lack staying power over time.
While these criticisms should not be disregarded, there are studies that support the idea that memory reconsolidation does indeed work as advertised. For example, one study conducted by scientists at Northwestern University concluded that traumatic memories could be weakened through various cognitive manipulations during their retrieval. Such convincing evidence suggests that memory reconsolidation can have a real impact on resolving psychological struggles, paving the way for improved mental health outcomes.
Unlocking the potential of this powerful tool requires more research and experimentation. That said, it’s clear that there is hope for those looking to make lasting changes within themselves by adjusting their undesirable thoughts and emotions. Therefore, let’s explore further into this process by examining what is required when utilizing memory reconsolidation.
Memories Reconsolidation Process
The process of memory reconsolidation is not well understood by neuroscientists, but there are some promising findings regarding its effectiveness. In general, memory reconsolidation is thought to involve updating or modifying existing memories in response to new information. This can be done consciously, through a process called “active recollection,” or automatically, without any conscious effort on the part of the learner.
The debate lies in whether memory reconsolidation can be used to create permanent changes in behavior and how it works. Some researchers argue that this form of therapy can produce long-term changes in behavior, while others maintain that these changes are only temporary and rely heavily on cues and contexts. On one hand, research shows that when people recall an experience associated with a distressing emotion (e.g., fear or shame), they tend to remember it differently when the emotion is no longer present. For example, a person who has experienced fear-inducing situations may no longer feel fear when recalling those experiences once the emotion is gone. On the other hand, some studies have found that self-expression coupled with cognitive therapy led to fewer symptoms of PTSD for both military veterans and civilian survivors of sexual assault compared to those who only received cognitive therapy alone—suggesting that memory reconsolidated may play a role in both short-term and long-term improvement of PTSD symptoms.
Overall, more research needs to be done in order to clearly understand the implications of memory reconsolidation. However, even with limited data at our disposal, it appears that memory reconsolidation is a powerful tool for altering how we remember our past experiences and helping us make meaningful behavioral changes—and ultimately achieve success. The next section will discuss how exactly we can utilize this powerful brain mechanism to help unleash our potential and reach peak performance.
Consolidation and the Dynamic Nature of Memory
A study was conducted by Nader K and his friends at NYU. The study concerns itself with memory consolidation and the dynamic nature of memory. Using rats as the specimen, they worked on their fear memories (i.e., distinct fear memories), wanting to find out the nature of the memory systems.
Nader K and his friends gently placed a buzzer with vibration as well near these creatures to detect at what level it would activate their stressor. At the end of the experiment, they found out that memory is susceptible to changes. I.e., it is dynamic in nature.
When brain functions are modified by a traumatic event or the use of drugs, chances are that they can cause memory disruption, and the outcome may be harmful too. But once they are consolidated, they create a new memory formation or piece of information.
Causes of Memory Change
Memory change or memory loss occurs when the individual can no longer remember things, partially or permanently. Although memory loss has to do with forgetting past information as a result of a traumatic event, some people even forget their names and personal information.
Memory change, on its terms, involves temporarily forgetting information as in-memory reconsideration.
Here are a few things that cause memory changes:
Most mental problems that relate to confusion and stress may lead to memory change. Also, chronic depression can result in memory changes.
Severe brain tumors that are not quickly diagnosed can result in patients having memory changes.
Deficiency in Vitamins
Vitamin B-12 is a great supplement for the brain tissue. Once a person lacks sufficient vitamins that help the brain tissue, it may also result in memory loss.
Certain people have allergies to some drugs. If there are drugs your body does not accept, you may experience temporary memory loss.
Certain head injuries may cause memory loss, especially when the injury occurs while you are conscious.
If, for one reason or another, you or someone close experiences memory-induced trauma that results in memory loss, seek help.
Discarding the Old Memory Trace
Memory reactivation is the process of recalling memories from the past. It occurs when a person consciously or unconsciously encounters experiences and cues from their past that trigger memory of past experiences.
Memory reconsolidation shows how completing memories may be temporary. Several researchers feel that one must reactivate the old memory and encode a new one to generate a fresh memory trace and discard the old. Some experts believe that deleting the old memory trace precedes acquiring new knowledge.
According to this theory, neural traces fade or vanish when a person is given the same information as a former event. They say this eliminates interference and allows knowledge updates. Studies have shown that neuronal rivalry between prior and incongruent memories impairs memory accuracy when old memories are recovered quickly after they occur.
Benefits of Memory Reconsolidation
The potential for unlocking the power of memory reconsolidation is vast. Through reconsolidation therapy, powerful changes can be made to the brain, allowing individuals to reshape their behaviors and emotions and cultivate long-term success. Some of the most frequently reported benefits of memory reconsolidation include:
1) Reduced Anxiety and Panic Attacks:
Those who have experienced anxiety disorders or frequent panic attack episodes may find great relief through memory reconsolidation as they alter old and maladaptive thought patterns that were originally encoded in the brain. These new networks help reduce distressful thoughts and unhelpful behavioral patterns, leading to a more relaxed mental landscape.
2) Improved Focus and Concentration:
By reconfiguring how memories are stored in the brain, it becomes easier for individuals to stay focused on present-oriented tasks rather than become overwhelmed by an overactive inner monologue. This can prove extremely helpful in work settings when trying to remain both productive and motivated with long-term goals.
3) Increased Self-Esteem:
Rewiring your brain with memory reconsolidation techniques can help cultivate feelings of self-worth and accomplishment. Instead of negative feelings associated with past mistakes or failures, patients can instead focus on strategies for future successes during sessions with a clinician.
It is important to note that for some individuals memory reconsolidation may not be the best option or have desired effects on behaviors or emotions. It is essential that one consults with a professional before beginning any kind of treatment. With proper guidance from a licensed clinician, there is much evidence that suggests exactly how effective therapy using memory reconsolidation can be towards creating lasting improvements in one’s life.
Who Can Benefit From Memory Recossilatlon? (Patient Types)
The potential benefits of memory reconsolidation extend to a wide variety of individuals, including those affected by post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma, addiction, and depression. While memory reconsolidation has seen widespread success in clinical settings, there is still debate as to whether or not it can provide a lasting benefit to all of the above patient types.
Though advocates cite many anecdotal examples of positive outcomes among patients with lower levels of functioning—such as alcoholics, those with post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression—some experts suggest that memory reconsolidation might be limited to those who experience only mild levels of dysfunction. Those who have experienced severe symptoms for long periods may have difficulty accessing or managing these new memories due to structural or cognitive deficits.
On the other hand, evidence shows that even in larger doses, memory reconsolidation can offer significant relief from emotional distress if it is implemented properly. A 2019 study found that 80 percent of participants with PTSD experienced reduced anxiety after undergoing six weeks’ worth of treatment utilizing memory reconsolidation procedures. Research also suggests that memory reconsolidation offers patients tangible results for a longer period than alternative treatments such as standard talk therapy and medications; the effects may last anywhere from two weeks to one month following treatment.
Looking To Get Healed From A Trauma-Related Experience? Intensive Therapy Retreats Is Your Best Choice
A therapy session is important in the healing process for anyone with any form of traumatic experience. At our trauma treatment center, we use techniques that have been proven by science to help people deal with and let go of the bad feelings and limiting self-beliefs that are tied to their traumatic experiences. We utilize trauma-centered therapy as a paradigm for treating issues like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of children, bereavement and loss, and more. This allows clients to resume the normal course of their lives.
Even while the memories are still there, you no longer allow them to control you in a negative or upsetting way. Then, negative self-beliefs that limit you are transformed into positive, supportive ones.
We stay up-to-date on any new research to provide you with the most innovative therapies as soon as they become available. Since everyone deserves to live a life free of worries, no one should go through memory impairment. Through our retreat therapy sessions, you’ll live a happy life again.