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Practical management of memory problems.
In G.E. Berrios & J. R. Hodges (Eds), Memory disorders in psychiatric practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 291-310.
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This chapter assumes that restoration of memory functioning is unlikely to occur in people with memory impairment following brain injury. Nevertheless, a considerable amount can be done to enable people and their relatives to understand their difficulties. Environmental modifications can enable people with very severe problems to cope without adequate memory functioning. New technology is likely to play an increasingly important role in the future management of memory problems. Non-electronic external memory aids such as diaries, notebooks, tape recorders and so forth are widely used but are often problematic for memory impaired people as their use involves memory. Successful use can be achieved through careful teaching methods. Internal strategies such as mnemonics and rehearsal techniques can be employed to teach new information. Errorless learning, i.e. avoiding mistakes during learning, is usually to be preferred to trial-and-error learning for memory impaired people. This is because in order to benefit from our mistakes we need to remember the mistakes. In the absence of episodic memory, the very fact of making an error may strengthen the erroneous response. Consequently, it is better to avoid erroneous responses in the first place. In addition to poor memory, many brain injured people will have other cognitive problems which will need to be addressed. The emotional sequelae of memory impairment such as anxiety, depression and loneliness can be reduced through the provision of written information, counselling, anxiety management techniques and treatment in memory groups or psychotherapy groups.