What Is Amnesia, And Can You Regain Memory? 'Jane The Virgin' Plot Twists Features Memory Loss, New Identity

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Brett Dier as Michael and Gina Rodriguez as Jane in 'Jane The Virgin.' Michael seemingly died in Season 3, but was found to be alive at the end of Season 4. Scott Everett White/The CW

Jane The Virgin's fifth and final season returned Wednesday night with a shocking, devastating plot twist regarding Jane's first love, Michael. The episode quickly revealed that yes, Michael is still very much alive, but living with amnesia and a new identity. Michael now goes by the name Jason and lives a rural life, full of fishing and outdoor living. He even has a southern accent.

How Michael got the amnesia is also explained. It was delivered by electo-shock therapy by one of the show's infamous villains, Rose. So what exactly is amnesia? And can Michael regain his memory, even after it's been lost for years? Here's everything viewers need to know about the memory loss and what it could mean for the long-beloved character.

Amnesia is "when a person can no longer memorize or recall information that is stored in memory," according to Medical News Today. There is not a one-type-fits-all version of amnesia. In fact, there are 11 different types of amnesia diagnosis. In its different forms, it can contribute to partial memory loss, where specific events or time periods are removed from a person's memory. Amnesia can also act as a total reset button, where people cannot remember anything about their life, those in it, or even themselves. Those cases, however, are rare.

In Michael's case, he seemingly cannot remember anything, and has assumed a new identity after his captors sent him blindly into a new life. With no memory of his prior life, marriage or job, Michael, or Jason, accepted his country lifestyle without questions. But now that Rafael brought him to Jane, realistically, he could get his memory back.

According to Michael's situation, as explained in the first episode of Season 5, he seems to be a victim of Hysterical Amnesia, which is when a person does not recall their own identity or past. In most cases, this memory returns within a few days. If an extremely traumatic event caused the amnesia, though, it's likely the memory of this event may never return, according to Medical News Today.

The best ways of overcoming Amnesia are interacting with family, friends and familiar situations. The use of photographs and senses like smell and touch can sometimes prompt memories to return. Other psychological triggers, like hypnosis, can be helpful in bringing back memories.

Amnesia is not as common as TV shows and other forms of media make it out to be, though, medical sites explain. Though it's a common plot point in entertainment storylines, amnesia is much more rare than many assume. Even with that, the majority of amnesia cases don't leave a person with no knowledge of who they are. In a typical amnesia patient, it's difficult for them to regain bits of memory, or remember new information, but most have a sense of themselves throughout.