What is memory in PTSD?

Memory involves encoding, storage and retrieval of information. Short-term memory is the ability to remember information after several seconds or minutes; and long-term memory is the ability to remember information over a longer duration. Semantic memory is memory for general facts, episodic memory is memory for personal events, prospective memory is memory for future actions, and retrospective memory is memory for past events. Working memory involves information being temporarily held as well as manipulated.

What is the evidence for memory in PTSD?

Moderate quality evidence finds small to medium-sized effects of poorer memory in people with the disorder than in controls. This was found for both episodic and prospective memory. There were also medium to large effects of poorer verbal episodic and working memory, with similar effects found in children and adults. Visual episodic memory was impaired only in children.

Moderate to low quality evidence finds large deficits in autobiographical memory in people with PTSD. Review authors explain an autobiographical memory deficit in PTSD as having difficulty recalling specific details of personal events and a tendency to recall an overall, general impression of events instead.

August 2021

Image: ©2018 Andrew Ostrovsky –

Last updated at: 5:20 pm, 15th February 2022
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Tags:  Memory

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