What Can Cause a Loss of Motor Skills?

Disorders that affect nerve cells of the brain, such as Parkinson's disease, can cause motor skill loss.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2014
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Among the most common causes of the loss of motor skills are traumatic injuries to the brain and strokes, which can both result in temporary or permanent impairment. A person may also suffer motor skill loss because of a disorder or disease that affects nerve cells in his brain. Parkinson's disease is an example of such a disorder. Likewise, alcoholic beverages and drugs that depress the central nervous system can affect a person's motor skills temporarily.

One of the possible causes of impaired motor skills is a head injury. When a person sustains a severe head injury, the loss can prove severe or mild, and permanent or temporary depending on the part of the brain that is injured and the extent of the injury. Motor skill issues may occur when a person suffers a hard blow to his head or when something penetrates his skull. They may even develop when a person suffers an accident that causes his brain to strike the inside of his skull.


A stroke is also among the health problems that can cause a loss of motor skills. When a person has a stroke, an artery becomes blocked or a blood vessel breaks and interferes with blood flow to the brain. The part of the brain that experiences the blood flow problem can suffer damage, and brain cells in the area may even die. The effects of a stroke can vary, but some people suffer such issues as changes in speech, paralysis of part of the body, and impaired memory. Some people also suffer motor skills problems because of a stroke.

Disorders that affect nerve cells of the brain, such as Parkinson's disease, can also cause motor skill loss. When a person has Parkinson's disease, nerve cells that produce the brain chemical dopamine fail to perform as they should. This chemical has the responsibility of producing signals that play an important role in movement. Without this chemical's effects, a person may suffer the loss of motor skills as well as a range of other problems. For example, he could also suffer from tremors of his extremities and face, and he may even have difficulties with sleeping, eating, and talking.

Sometimes the loss of motor skills is caused by a substance rather than an illness or injury. An individual, for example, may experience the temporary loss of motor skills after drinking too much alcohol and becoming drunk. The impairment usually only lasts until the affected person becomes sober again. This is probably due to the fact that alcohol depresses that central nervous system. Some drugs may have similar effects.


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