Adhd forgetfulness symptom

Adult ADHD: 14 Signs and Symptoms

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can cause symptoms beyond a lack of focus. Discover 13 other ADHD symptoms as well as the criteria you must meet to receive a diagnosis as an adult.

Untreated attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can present as biological and environmental factors that interfere with many aspects of a person’s daily life. This includes their relationships.

ADHD affects about 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that the numbers may be higher. Many children assigned female at birth and adults with the condition also go undiagnosed.

It’s important to recognize the symptoms of adult ADHD so you can get proper treatment. Keep reading to learn about these symptoms.

Life can seem challenging for everyone sometimes. But someone with ADHD may have more challenging life experiences than someone without ADHD. This can make it difficult for them to keep everything in the right place.

An adult with ADHD may have issues with organizational skills. This can include problems keeping track of tasks and trouble prioritizing them in a logical manner.

Adults with ADHD can often have trouble in relationships, whether they’re professional, romantic, or platonic.

Certain traits associated with ADHD may feel draining on relationships. They include:

  • inattentiveness
  • being easily bored
  • talking over people in conversation

As a result, a person with ADHD may come across as:

  • insensitive
  • irresponsible
  • uncaring

Lack of focus, the telltale symptom of ADHD, goes beyond simply finding it hard to pay attention. It also means:

  • being easily distracted
  • finding it hard to listen to others in a conversation
  • overlooking details
  • not completing tasks or projects

As an adult with ADHD, you may feel like your internal motor won’t shut off.

Your yearning to keep moving and doing things can lead to frustration when you can’t do something immediately. This leads to restlessness, which can lead to frustration and anxiety.

Anxiety is a very common symptom of adult ADHD, as the mind tends to replay worrisome events repeatedly.

As with children, physical signs of restlessness and anxiety in adults can include fidgeting.

An adult with ADHD may:

  • move around frequently
  • tap their hands or feet
  • shift in their seat
  • find it difficult to sit still

Life with ADHD can seem challenging, as though your emotions are constantly in flux. You can easily become bored and have the tendency to seek excitement on a whim.

Small frustrations can seem intolerable or bring on depression and shifts in mood. If emotional concerns are left unaddressed, they may complicate your personal and professional relationships.

People with ADHD are often easily distracted. They may also have something called hyperfocus, according to a 2019 literature review.

A person with ADHD can get so engrossed in something that they can become unaware of anything else around them.

This kind of focus makes it easier to lose track of time and ignore those around you. This can lead to relationship misunderstandings.

This concern is similar to experiencing disorganization. Adults with ADHD often find it hard to effectively manage their time. They may:

  • procrastinate on tasks
  • show up late for events
  • ignore assignments they consider boring

They may have trouble focusing on the future or the past — the “now” is often more top-of-mind for people with ADHD.

It’s human to forget things occasionally, but for someone with ADHD, forgetfulness tends to occur more often. This can include routinely forgetting where you’ve put something or what important dates you need to keep.

Sometimes forgetfulness can be bothersome but not to the point of causing serious disruptions. Other times, it can be serious.

The bottom line is that forgetfulness can affect careers and relationships.

It can easily be confused with carelessness or lack of intelligence by others if they’re not familiar with an ADHD diagnosis and its symptoms. Learn more about the effect of ADHD on memory.

Impulsiveness in someone with ADHD can manifest in several ways, including:

  • interrupting others during conversation
  • being socially inappropriate
  • rushing through tasks
  • acting without much consideration for the consequences

A person’s shopping habits are often a good indication of ADHD. One 2015 study tracked the psychosocial development of random teens in upstate New York over 29 years. The researchers found that impulse buying, especially on items a person can’t afford, was a common symptom of adult ADHD.

Adults with ADHD are often hypercritical of themselves, which can lead to a negative self-image.

This is due in part to difficulties concentrating, as well as other symptoms that may affect school, work, and relationships.

Adults with ADHD may view these difficulties as personal failures or underachievement, which can cause them to see themselves in a negative light.

While you might be open to doing everything at once, you also may feel unmotivated.

This concern is commonly seen in children with ADHD, who often find it hard to focus on schoolwork. It can also happen with adults.

Coupled with procrastination and difficulty with organizational skills, lack of motivation can make it hard for an adult with ADHD to finish a project. They may find it hard to focus for long periods of time.

Although this may sound surprising given that restlessness is also a symptom, fatigue is a concern for many adults with ADHD.

There could be several reasons for this, including:

  • hyperactivity
  • sleep problems that can come with ADHD
  • the constant effort to focus that ADHD may require of you
  • side effects of ADHD medications

Whatever the cause, fatigue can worsen attention difficulties.

ADHD can lead a person to neglect their physical health. ADHD symptoms that may affect your ability to maintain your physical health include:

  • disorganization
  • emotional concerns
  • impulsivity
  • lack of motivation

Stress and anxiety also have negative effects on your physical health.

Neglecting your physical health can manifest as:

  • compulsively eating an imbalanced diet
  • not exercising
  • forgoing important medication

Substance misuse may not affect every adult with ADHD, but a 2021 consensus statement showed that people with the condition are more likely than others to experience substance misuse. This may involve the use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

The research isn’t clear on what the link is between substance misuse and ADHD. One theory is that people with ADHD use substances to self-medicate. They may misuse these substances in hopes of:

  • improving focus
  • improving sleep
  • relieving anxiety
Other common traits

Other common traits among adults with ADHD include:

  • changing employers often
  • having few personal or work-related achievements
  • repeated patterns of relationship issues, including divorce

There’s no one specific test designed to diagnose ADHD in everyone. Multiple screening tools are available.

Testing for adult ADHD typically involves at least two detailed interviews with a mental health professional or primary care physician.

During these interviews, they will:

  • assess whether your current symptoms meet the criteria for ADHD
  • ask questions to determine if there was evidence of ADHD symptoms in your childhood
  • assess whether you may have any comorbid or related mental health conditions that can explain your symptoms

The “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5)” notes three different ADHD presentations:

  • predominantly inattentive
  • predominantly hyperactive-impulsive
  • combined

To receive a diagnosis of ADHD, an adult must exhibit at least five of the symptoms associated with a particular type for at least 6 months. Adults with combined ADHD exhibit at least five symptoms of each of the other types.

In addition, multiple symptoms must have been present before the age of 12 years.

ADHD also has to have a negative impact on multiple areas of your life (such as home and work), not just one.

There are solutions available to help adults with ADHD overcome the difficulties of their condition.

If your ADHD is mild, you may want to consider cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or meeting with a professional organizer. They can help you with things like learning how to:

  • get organized
  • stick with plans
  • finish activities that you start

Practicing certain healthy habits will also help ensure that your body is better equipped to handle challenges. These healthy habits include:

  • managing stress
  • eating a balanced diet
  • regularly getting enough sleep

Medication may help as well. To learn more about available treatment options and which ones may work well for you, talk with a healthcare professional.

Online therapy options

Read our review of the best online therapy services to find the right fit for you.

ADHD and Memory Loss: What to Know

Written by Stephanie Langmaid

In this Article

  • ADHD and Memory
  • What Causes Memory Loss?
  • How Can You Tell if It’s ADHD or Something Else?
  • ADHD and Dementia
  • When to See Your Doctor

If you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), forgetfulness is probably something you’ve dealt with your whole life. But maybe your memory problems are starting to feel different. You’re forgetting things more often. You’re losing the thread of conversations or grasping for the right word.

There are a lot of reasons for memory loss. Some of them are serious, some are easy to treat. Here are some ways to tell whether what you’re experiencing is ADHD, or something else.

ADHD and Memory

When you have ADHD, memory problems tend to show up in ways like missing appointments, or forgetting where you put your phone or keys. ADHD affects two different kinds of memory:

Working memory. This is the part of your memory that allows you to turn information you learn into action, for example: remembering instructions long enough to finish a task. Studies show working memory is less effective in children and adults who have ADHD than in those who don’t.

Long-term memory. People with ADHD often don’t do well on tests of long-term memory. But scientists believe that has to do with how they process information. When you have ADHD, distractions may prevent you from taking in information, or your brain may store it in a disorganized way. Memories aren’t lost, they aren’t made in the first place.

What Causes Memory Loss?

If you’re noticing memory problems, your fears may go straight to dementia. But many other things – including normal aging – can cause memory loss. Other causes can include:

  • Mental health issues, including stress, trauma, and depression
  • Lack of sleep or sleep apnea
  • Not enough of certain vitamins, particularly B1 and B12
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications, including:
    • Antidepressants
    • Antihistamines
    • Narcotic pain killers
    • Drugs for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, incontinence, and seizures
  • Menopause
  • Underactive or overactive thyroid

If you can find out and treat the underlying cause, your memory may go back to normal.

More serious conditions can cause memory loss, too, including:

  • Brain injury from an accident, infection, stroke, or tumor
  • Illnesses that involve the brain, including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Lyme disease, and HIV

If you have any of these conditions, talk to your doctor about your memory problems.

How Can You Tell if It’s ADHD or Something Else?

Memory loss can look and feel the same whether it’s a symptom of ADHD or something else. But there are some clues that can help you and your doctor figure out what’s causing it.

When did the problem start?ADHD symptoms start in childhood. If your memory loss is a new problem, it could have a different cause. Most people lose some amount of brain function as a natural part of aging, starting in your 30s and 40s. Your brain’s function shrinks even more by age 60. Your brain goes through physical changes, and brain cells have a harder time communicating. You may learn new information more slowly and have trouble with multitasking.

Dementia usually starts to appear after age 65. Symptoms tend to start slowly and gradually get worse until you’re no longer able to manage your daily life.

Has something changed? ADHD symptoms don’t get worse over time, but they can become more noticeable under certain circumstances. If you’ve just retired, losing the structure of the workday can cause old problems to crop up again, like managing your time and focusing on a task long enough to finish it. The hormone changes of menopause can highlight ADHD symptoms.

Have you recently been through a stressful situation or traumatic event? Did you hit your head in a fall? Did you start a new medication? Identifying changes in your life may point you to the reason for your memory loss.

Do you have other symptoms? If your memory loss has a physical cause, you’re likely to have other issues, too. Do you have headaches? Blurred vision? Muscle weakness or paralysis? Those could mean a problem with your brain, like an injury, blood clot, or tumor. See your doctor or get emergency care, especially if these symptoms come on suddenly.

Thyroid problems can cause low energy and weight gain. A B12 deficiency can cause balance problems.

What kind of things do you forget? With ADHD, you may not remember where your car keys are because you were distracted when you put them down. But with dementia, you may be driving somewhere you’ve been a hundred times, and suddenly get lost.

In the early stages of dementia, your working memory may be fine, but you don’t remember recent events, like a conversation you had earlier in the day.

Normal aging can make it harder for you to learn new things, so you may not recall the name of someone you just met.

ADHD and Dementia

More and more often, older people are going to the doctor because they think they’re developing dementia, only to find out they have ADHD. The learning disorder is believed to be underdiagnosed in adults. The standards used to identify ADHD in kids don’t apply as well to older people. And over time, some people get very good at making up for their processing problems.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the earliest stage of dementia. It shares many symptoms with ADHD, but there are some important differences.

People with ADHD and people with MCI may both have:

  • Problems with so-called executive functions, like paying attention and processing information
  • Forgetfulness
  • Trouble with impulse control
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

But the conditions are also different in many ways:

  • Symptoms of ADHD begin in childhood. MCI starts when you’re older.
  • Symptoms of ADHD generally stay the same or become less noticeable in adulthood. MCI gets worse over time.
  • People with ADHD are usually fully aware of their memory problems and can describe their symptoms and notice changes. With dementia, it’s more likely to be a caregiver who first spots the problem.
  • Medications that can improve the brain function of people with MCI don’t work on ADHD. And the stimulants that help with ADHD have no effect on dementia.

There’s some evidence that people with ADHD may be more likely to develop dementia as they age, particularly the disease called Lewy body dementia. People with both disorders share some of the same brain chemistry differences. And some behaviors that are common in people with ADHD, like smoking and drinking too much alcohol, are known to put you at risk for cognitive decline.

But the jury is still out on whether people with ADHD actually get dementia any more often than people without ADHD.

When to See Your Doctor

Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your memory loss, especially if it’s gone on for some time or if it’s affecting your daily life.

They can do several kinds of tests to try to get to the bottom of it. You may get:

  • Mental status tests, where you’re asked to do things like repeat a list of words, name objects, follow multistep commands and answer questions about the past
  • Neurological tests
  • Imaging tests like an MRI
  • Blood or urine tests

Many causes of memory loss are temporary and treatable. If it turns out your memory issues are a symptom of your ADHD, there are still things you can do. Your doctor may adjust your medication or try a different one. Or you may try behavioral therapy or counseling.

Memory problems in young people

Forgetfulness, impaired attention are attributed to the elderly. However, memory problems are increasingly occurring in young people. The reasons for this phenomenon are varied - from an unhealthy lifestyle and overwork to serious disorders in the functioning of the brain and internal organs.


  • 1. Causes of memory impairment at a young age
  • 2. Associated symptoms
  • 3. How to solve memory problems

Causes of memory impairment at a young age

Memory impairment in older people is usually caused by age-related changes in the body. Atherosclerosis, microstrokes, Alzheimer's disease - these pathologies negatively affect cognitive functions.

The causes of forgetfulness at a young age are different, they can be divided into 4 groups.

  1. Brain lesions.
  2. Diseases of internal organs.
  3. Unfavorable impact of external factors, violation of the daily routine. nine0010
  4. Chronic intoxication of the organism.

Disturbances in the functioning of the brain - the main cause of memory impairment

The cerebral cortex is responsible for the functioning of long-term memory. The hippocampus, which is located in the temporal lobes, starts the processes of translating short-term information into long-term memory. There are other memory centers in the brain. Therefore, any damage to this organ provokes the development of forgetfulness, inattention.

Causes of memory problems in young people:

  1. Traumatic brain injury. The area affected is irrelevant. After any blow, short-term or long-term memory loss, retrograde or antegrade amnesia is observed.
  2. Stroke. When blood circulation is disturbed, the functions of the memory centers are disrupted.
  3. Malignant and benign neoplasms. Tumors affect nearby tissues, including the memory centers located in them.
  4. Encephalitis, meningitis. The infection negatively affects the functioning of the brain and memory. nine0010
  5. Post-surgical asthenic syndrome.

After any injuries and diseases of the brain, it is necessary to be constantly monitored by a neurologist. This will help to timely identify memory impairment and cognitive disorders.

What diseases of the internal organs negatively affect memory

The normal functioning of the brain largely depends on the well-coordinated work of the whole organism. Many dysfunctions can indirectly affect concentration and memory.

The hormonal background affects the memorization process. Testosterone, vasopressin, prolactin, estrogen help convert short-term memory into long-term memory. Oxytocin impairs the memory process.

Main diseases:

  1. Hypertension, other diseases of the cardiovascular system. Provoke a deterioration in the blood supply to the brain.
  2. Violation of exchange processes. When metabolism fails, brain tissue suffers from nutritional deficiencies. Resources are allocated to vital areas, and the memory center is not a priority in this list. nine0010
  3. Angiopathy - pathology develops against the background of diabetes mellitus. Vascular walls thicken, small vessels overlap and stop working. Blood circulation is disturbed in all organs, the brain also suffers.
  4. Hypothyroidism - lack of thyroid hormone leads to the development of iodine deficiency.
  5. Mental disorders - schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression.
  6. Cervical osteochondrosis. Deformed vertebrae compress blood vessels, the brain suffers from a lack of oxygen and nutrients. nine0010

In diseases of the kidneys, verbal memory deteriorates. Cognitive functions decrease with an increase in creatinine levels, a decrease in glomerular filtration rate. The study was carried out for 5 years by scientists from the United States.

Adverse environmental influences, lifestyle

If young people have memory problems, the causes are often associated with unconscious brain dysfunction. But these causes, unlike diseases, are easier to eliminate. With a change in lifestyle, forgetfulness will gradually disappear. nine0003

Causes of memory impairment:

  1. Information overload. The human brain freezes if it is not able to process all the information received. The principle of multitasking has already been recognized as ineffective, since it leads to a deterioration in memory capabilities, attentiveness, and nervous disorders.
  2. Avitaminosis. For the normal functioning of the brain, it is necessary to constantly replenish the reserves of B vitamins. These substances protect cells from aging and overload, participate in oxygen metabolism and the synthesis of certain neurotransmitters, and ensure the normal functioning of the central nervous system. nine0010
  3. Stress, nervous and emotional overwork. Under such conditions, the physiological processes associated with memory are blocked. With prolonged stress, information is not remembered at all.
  4. Chronic sleep deprivation. During sleep, new cells are synthesized. If a person constantly does not get enough sleep, the brain does not have time to recover, the process of memorizing and reproducing information is disrupted.
  5. Abuse of junk food. Foods with food coloring contain aluminum. The substance accumulates in the body, is poorly excreted. The result is a deterioration in memory, thinking, attention. nine0010
  6. Caffeinated drinks. Constant stimulation of the brain leads to a decrease in memory.
  7. Poisoning with lead, mercury, other heavy metals.
  8. Long-term and uncontrolled use of tranquilizers, sedatives and antihistamines, neuroleptics. Anticholinergics, antidepressants, barbiturates negatively affect brain function.

Smoking destroys the brain. Heavy smokers suffer from memory problems, the ability to perceive new information, logical thinking is deteriorating. Equally dangerous active and passive smoking, memory performance is reduced by 25-30%. nine0003

Daily consumption of 36 g of pure alcohol leads to early memory impairment. But the complete rejection of alcohol negatively affects the functioning of the brain. It is safe to consume up to 4 glasses of dry red wine per week.

Drugs are neurotoxic substances that disrupt the process of receiving, processing and sending information. Even with a single use, irreversible damage often occurs in the serotonin system of the brain.

Associated symptoms

Forgetfulness, inability to remember and reproduce information are not the only signs of poor memory. nine0003

What symptoms should you see a doctor for?

  • lapses in memory - large or small fragments from the past are forgotten;
  • the line between past and present is lost;
  • troubled by false memories, frequent bouts of deja vu;
  • problems with short-term memory, a person cannot remember where he was going, find the right thing;
  • difficulty concentrating, formulating thoughts, because one cannot remember the right word; nine0010
  • people often repeat themselves, confuse days of the week for months;
  • increased anxiety due to the fact that it is impossible to remember whether he closed the door, turned off the iron, water.
  • Often, memory problems are accompanied by migraine attacks, tinnitus, hearing and vision impairment, heart rhythm disturbance, and chronic fatigue.

    How to deal with memory problems

    If memory often fails, it is necessary to visit a neurologist. After examination, history taking and primary diagnosis, consultation with a general practitioner, neuropsychologist, psychotherapist, oncologist may be required. nine0003

    Neuromonitoring begins with an assessment of the neurological status. The doctor checks the work of the cranial nerves, determines the amplitude of the movement of the eyeballs, the symmetry of the tongue and dental grin, evaluates facial and voluntary movements.

    Assesses hearing, vision, smell, reflexes, speech. To diagnose memory disorders, tests are used that show the ability to remember and reproduce new information. To detect cognitive impairment, the doctor prescribes a general and biochemical blood test, a study of cerebrospinal fluid, EEG, MRI and CT of the brain. Based on the results of the diagnosis, treatment methods and drugs are selected. nine0003


    Memory needs to be trained daily. Exercises according to the method of Lawrence Katz will help improve brain function.

    How to avoid memory problems:

    1. Perform habitual activities with your eyes closed, walk in the dark.
    2. Combing, brushing teeth with non-dominant hand. Right-handed left, left-handed right.
    3. Learn poems, foreign languages, solve crossword puzzles and logic problems, play chess.
    4. Limit the time of watching TV, working at the computer. nine0010
    5. Increase stress resistance - yoga, meditation, regular physical activity have a positive effect on the psycho-emotional state.
    6. Eat right, refuse fatty and salty foods, sweets.
    7. Timely vaccinate, treat viral and bacterial diseases, strengthen the immune system.
    8. Observe the drinking regimen. The brain is 70-80% water, so it reacts sharply to the slightest dehydration. The optimal volume in the absence of contraindications is 1.5-2 liters of pure water per day. nine0010

    Memory problems do not always indicate serious illnesses at a young age. Try to have a good rest, sleep, not be nervous, get rid of bad habits. Include foods high in vitamin B in your diet, and remember to drink plenty of water. If no improvement is observed, consult a specialist, do not select drugs for treatment on your own.

    Not Found (#404)

    Paracelsus Medical Center

    Page not found. nine0003

    The above error occurred while the Web server was processing your request.

    Please contact us if you think this is a server error. thank you.

    Give feedback Write to management

    Please wait, download may take time

    Loading. .. nine0003

    You know which doctor you want to book

    You know the service you want to book

    Service selection

    A second consultation is considered to be a consultation of one specialist within 30 days from the date of the previous appointment. On the 31st day from the previous visit to a specialist of this profile, the consultation will be primary. nine0003

    The choice of a specialist

    Service selected:

    Choosing a specialist service

    A second consultation is considered to be a consultation of one specialist within 30 days from the date of the previous appointment. On the 31st day from the previous visit to a specialist of this profile, the consultation will be primary. nine0003

    Address selection:

    st. Vikulova, 33, building 2 st. Bolshakova, d. 68 nine0003

    Date selection:

    Time of receipt:



    Register Can't login? account activation nine0003

    To gain access to your personal account, enter the e-mail that was specified during registration, we will send instructions for password recovery

    To gain access to your personal account, enter the e-mail that was specified during registration, we will send instructions for reactivating your account

    nine0002 Your application has been accepted, our specialists will answer your question as soon as possible!



    By clicking on the confirmation button, I agree with personal data processing policy

    nine0189 Dear patients!
    Multidisciplinary Clinic and Maternity Hospital "Paracelsus" informs you, according to the Letter of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation to the Federal Tax Service dated March 25, 2022. N BS-4-11 / 3605, that subparagraph 3 of paragraph 1 of Article 219 of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation provides for the taxpayer's right to receive a social tax deduction in the amount paid by him in the tax period for medical services provided by medical organizations engaged in medical activities , him, his spouse, parents, children (including adopted children) under the age of 18, wards under the age of 18 (in accordance with the list of medical services approved by the Government of the Russian Federation). nine0003

    Joint order of the Ministry of Taxation of Russia and the Ministry of Health of Russia of July 25, 2001 N 289 / BG-3-04 / 256 (hereinafter - the order of July 25, 2001) approved the form of the Certificate of payment for medical services for submission to the tax authorities of the Russian Federation (hereinafter - the Certificate payment for medical services).

    This certificate certifies the fact of receiving a medical service and its payment through the cash desk of a healthcare institution at the expense of the taxpayer.

    Learn more