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While running downstairs to do something important, I notice how sunny it is outside, and by the time I reach the bottom of the stairs I forget why I ran down the stairs in the first place! Or I’m in the middle of a sentence trying to explain something, and all of a sudden forget what I’m trying to explain. I’m not asking about tip of the tongue or an inability to remember someone’s name, because the thought or names were already thought of a few seconds earlier.

I usually remember a few seconds or minutes later, and sometimes it takes much longer, or I don’t remember at all. I’m pretty sure this happens to everybody; what is the term or word that describes this? I’m specifically trying to separate what is ordinary from what is abnormally progressing. It’s not Lethologica or Lethonomia.

There are a lot of good suggestions to replace the term, ‘brain farts,’ like a mental lapse or senior moment, but I’m looking for a more formal term like lethologica or lethonomia.

Sentence example would be:

I’ve experienced [word/term] throughout my life on occasion, but the recent frequency has me concerned something is wrong or I need to change something in my life.

I’ve experienced a lot of [word/term] lately so I wonder if I need to get more sleep or it’s something more serious.

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  • 1
    Do you mean something that's somehow different from forgetfulness, and if so, how?
    – tchrist
    Aug 3 at 0:48
  • 1
    You just asked this same question, didn't you?
    – tchrist
    Aug 3 at 0:49
  • @tchrist - the guidance suggested clarifying the question and reasking it. I'm asking for a more formal word...should I be asking in Psychology and not language? I provided several modifications to the original question. Aug 4 at 22:55
  • I call that "normal".
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 5 at 0:14

2 Answers 2

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A formal term in medical terminology and psychiatry is dysmnesia. It is from ancient Greek: prefix δυσ- (dys-) 'bad or abnormal' + μιμνήσκω (mimnḗskō) 'to remind, to remember' + suffix -ία (-ia).

Collins defines as:

an impairment of memory

It differs from amnesia which is the loss of memory. Dysmnesia can be a discrete everyday episode, or it can be a chronic condition or a symptom of a disorder.

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I am not a doctor but it sounds like either

  1. Transient Global Amnesia

Transient global amnesia (TGA) is a rare medical condition in which a person experiences a sudden episode of memory loss. During a TGA episode, a person cannot form new memories and has difficulty recalling recent memories. TGA episodes usually last no more than several hours.

People with TGA remember who they are and can remember their friends and family members. They can still perform complex daily tasks, such as cooking or driving. They also retain their language and social interaction skills. However, during a TGA episode, they may not know where they are or the day or time.

or

  1. Simple temporary amnesia. This is quite normal and is not considered to be an illness - you walk into a room of your house and wonder why you have entered; you forget where you put your car keys; you walk away from the refrigerator with a tub of butter rather than a bottle of milk, etc.

In either case, see a doctor.

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