Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on
September 8, 2021
Reading Time: 10 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on:

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How Do I Stop Being Forgetful with ADHD?

Do you forget where you put your keys? Do you forget what to buy at the grocery store? Are you forgetful all the time and don’t know why it’s happening?

You might be struggling with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder! In this blog post, we’ll talk about how forgetfulness is a symptom of ADHD. We’ll discuss how it can affect your life and offer some tips on how to manage forgetfulness when living with ADHD.

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a mental disorder. It is characterized by inattention, forgetfulness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

There is a great deal of forgetfulness with ADHD. It can manifest as forgetfulness about a current task or forgetful from day to day living activities. It is not unusual for people with ADHD to lose their physical, work and academic items on an ongoing basis.

A person with ADHD may have trouble making decisions. They might also have trouble paying attention when there are many things that are happening to cause distractions.

The anxiousness that accompanies forgetfulness also interrupts daily routines. This includes things like forgetting birthdays, anniversaries, or dates due at school or work. This can lead to anxiety about deadlines and taking tests.

Forgetting appointments brings up feelings of shame. This lack of responsibility usually reflects poorly on the forgetful person.

Three Types of ADHD

People with ADHD have a unique problem in that they forget things because of their attention problems. Forgetfulness is not an official criteria for diagnosis. Forgetting to pay bills on time or missing appointments may be attributed to forgetfulness rather than ADHD. There are three types of ADHD:

Inattentive ADHD Type 

People with this sort of ADHD have a difficult time staying focused. This is due to the fact that they are easily distracted by their own thoughts or daydreaming. If not redirected, they may quickly drift off in the middle of a statement. Inattentive ADHD is the most frequent form of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD Type

Individuals with this form of ADHD are very prone to losing concentration on activities. They’re quickly distracted by their surroundings or other events going on around them. They have a quick, fidgety, and restless nature.

Combined ADHD Type

Symptoms of ADHD may be present in various combinations. A person with ADHD might have both Hyperactive-Impulsive and Inattentive symptoms. If that’s the case, he or she will be classified as having a Combination form of the illness.

ADHD and Forgetfulness: Steps on How You Can Build a Better Memory

The forgetful nature of people with ADHD is directly related to their ability to focus and pay attention. It has been shown that those who have this disorder forget more than the average person because they are easily distracted. This leads them off task or away from what they should be doing.

They also forget things as they begin to forget what is important and what isn’t. What memory strategies can you use to stop forgetting things?

1. Use Memory Exercises

Exercising the brain is essential in order to strengthen neural connections that are made up of synapses. To help you remember things, use visual cues, sticky notes, and color-coding.

Here are some ideas:

  • Organize your grocery list by color and make it visual.
  • Keep a small notebook or sticky notes in your pocket.
  • Create reminders on the computer that will pop up every hour. This will help you remember important tasks, such as taking medication and doing certain actions (like getting out of bed).
  • A good habit for time management is to make a to do list.
  • Color code your notes and use highlighters when studying for tests/quizzes at school, college, medical school, etc.

2. Let Others Know

If you forget things, make sure to share your calendar with other people. You can also send reminders by email or text message.

You may forget to carry out certain tasks and forget about meetings. Let your colleagues and friends know when you forget details. Ask them to make sure you complete the task or arrive on time for the meeting.

3. Make Use of Calendars and Reminders

Make use of calendars and reminders. Write down appointments on a calendar. Set up reminder alerts on your cell phone. Put notes on your fridge or take notes during meetings.

Create a system that will remind you of important events. Use a calendar to plan your day’s activities and jot down special dates on it. A planner can help you keep track of your schedules. You can also use an online calendar app to get personal reminders on your cell phone.

4. Accept Your Limitations

For many adults it can be difficult to accept that forgetfulness is a limitation. It is hard to accept your limitations when there are things you know you can do but you forget. You get frustrated when other people remind you about these things. It is okay to ask for help, and understand that you need support.

Accept your limitations, don’t forget to plan ahead and give yourself extra time. Develop strategies to manage forgetful moments by giving yourself ample time to complete tasks and keeping a to-do list.

5. Don’t Stress

Stress can make your symptoms worse. It can also cause forgetfulness. If you are forgetful when you are in a stressful situation, it’s time to find a way to reduce your stress. How do you reduce stress? Here are some ideas to get started:

Take a walk, listen to music, go out with friends, or get creative. Increasing cognitive attention and memory abilities can help reduce forgetfulness. It can be beneficial to take classes in improving memory skills if you wish to enhance your cognitive abilities.

6. Build an Inventory of Tools to Tackle ADHD and Forgetfulness

All the above are a good start for building your inventory of tools for memory recall. Daily life can be hard when you are struggling with completing tasks.

Use electronic reminders, electronic calendars, to do lists, and get help from others for multiple tasks. Many adults with ADHD need help, and it is okay to reach out to a co worker, loved one, or mental health professional.

The Causes of ADHD

The exact cause of ADHD is not known, but there are many theories. Some people believe it may be an inherited condition. Some people say that other factors outside of a person can cause ADHD.

For example, environmental factors, smoking during pregnancy, or substance abuse while pregnant. We do know that people with ADHD have differences in the anatomy and function of their brains.

There also appear to be structural and functional differences in nine regions of the brain related to attention problems.

Could YOU Have ADHD?

The best way to tell if someone has ADHD is by looking at specific signs like restlessness or making spur-of-the-moment decisions.

ADHD forgetfulness may not be obvious to an observer, but it is the main reason why someone can’t keep up or stay organized. Forgetting much of what goes on in daily life can make you very forgetful even if you don’t have ADHD.

Forgetfulness can also be a sign of depression, sleep deprivation, or even dehydration. It’s best to get other symptoms checked out by your doctor if forgetfulness is the only symptom that bothers you.

Symptoms of Adult ADHD

The symptoms of ADHD can vary according to the type of ADHD someone has. The symptoms for children with ADHD are to run around or climb things. They might not be able to play quietly or have trouble talking. They might answer before the person has finished asking the question.

1. You’re Always Restless

Not being able to sit still is one ADHD struggle. It can be hard to stay focused on the tasks at hand if you are fidgety and cannot sit in one place for very long.

2. You’re Easily Distracted

Being easily distracted is a symptom of ADHD that could be difficult to identify. It’s not always the case that when you’re forgetful, you’re also easily distracted. The forgetfulness results in lost items such as keys, wallets and even the phone. You may not realize that you’re easily distracted because it’s part of your forgetful behavior.

3. You Make Spur-of-the-Moment Decisions

People with attention deficit disorders have trouble controlling their impulses. This can lead to bad judgments and taking dangerous risks. Children who have ADHD are more likely to have accidents. Adolescents with ADHD are twice as likely to have a car crash.

People with ADHD might have trouble deciding things. They might not be able to control what they are doing or they might not like the reward that they get. For example, somebody might forget to do something because they are too busy doing other things that are more rewarding at the moment. Even though it might not be what they actually wanted to do.

4. You’re Very Forgetful

Forgetfulness is not uncommon with ADHD. People forget things all the time, so forgetfulness may not be an indicator of having ADHD. We forget to do things, forget what we’ve just done, forget where we put something, forget names of people, places and/or things.

Forgetfulness in people with ADHD is much different than forgetfulness in someone who doesn’t have this disorder. People without ADD are often able to recall events and forgetfulness is just forgetfulness.

People with ADHD however, forget both important and unimportant things. This is because of inattentiveness or forgetfulness. Forgetfulness is a symptom of ADHD that makes it hard to forget the past and focus on what’s going on in the present time. Forgetfulness seems to be one of the most common ADHD symptoms.

5. You Lose Track of Time

Losing track of time can be one of the most frustrating aspects for adults with ADHD. The time may feel like it’s speeding by but you know you haven’t accomplished any work.

This happens when everything distracts you. Find things that keep your attention focused on what you want to do. For example, listen to music or try concentrating on a task that requires concentration.

6. You’re Not Good at Planning Ahead

Planning ahead with ADHD can be frustrating. It’s difficult to remember things that need to be completed. It can also be hard to remember the exact time that something needs to happen.

You might forget about appointments or deadlines, and then feel embarrassed when you forget. There are many ways that people with ADHD plan ahead for their forgetfulness.

One way is by using a planner or calendar app on your phone or computer. Another way is through setting reminders on your phone, email, or social media accounts so you don’t forget anything important!

7. Your Relationship is on the Rocks

ADHD can lead to misunderstandings, irritations, and hatreds in your closest connections. There are techniques to establish a stronger, happier relationship.

If you have ADHD, you might feel like people are always telling you what to do. They might also question your decisions. You and your partner do not agree on things.

You don’t feel like an adult, so you avoid your partner and say whatever is necessary to get them off your back. You want a happy life with your partner. You want them to relax and not try to control everything all the time. You wonder what happened to the person you loved.

ADHD can cause problems in your relationship. ADHD symptoms are different for everyone. They may be affecting how you interact with your partner or how they react to things that frustrate them. Once you understand what the symptoms of ADHD are doing to your relationship, you can learn better ways of dealing with it.

8. You Have Trouble Sleeping

People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are more likely to have trouble sleeping. They can’t fall asleep and they wake up often, so they don’t sleep much. These people are also at risk of getting a sleep disorder in their pre-teen years.

Nightmares are also typical in youngsters with ADHD, especially those who suffer from insomnia. With age, ADHD-related sleep disturbances tend to get worse. Childhood sleeplessness often clears up once ADHD treatment begins.

If you have trouble sleeping, it is important that you don’t try to go without sleep entirely. Sleeping for too long can also be just as bad for your health and well-being as not getting enough sleep. Instead, aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night.

9. You Hate Your Job

Attend work more regularly, stay focused on the task at hand, set some boundaries around your work hours, and make sure that you’re investing in your job.

10. Your Child Has ADHD

If your child has forgetful symptoms, he or she might have ADHD. How do you know if your child has ADHD? The American Psychiatric Association (APA) says that children and teens with ADHD may:

  • Fidget or squirm when they have to sit still for long periods of time.
  • Be distracted by things going on around them.
  • Have difficulty staying focused or completing tasks.
  • Not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
  • Interrupt others during conversations and games.

If this sounds like your child, you should make an appointment with a doctor immediately. ADHD is not something that can go untreated for long periods of time; it could have a significant impact on your child’s development.

Diagnosing ADHD

Diagnosing ADHD can only be done by a psychiatrist who can provide medical advice. There are no real tests that can detect ADHD. You can get a list of indicators to look for, and whether or not you have the illness.

ADHD Treatment

Don’t forget that there are many treatments available, such as medication or therapy for forgetfulness. You can always talk with your doctor about possible treatment options if you have ADHD or forgetful moments due to the disorder.


ADHD medications can be used to improve focus and attention span. With these medications, forgetfulness is eliminated to some degree.

However, the severity of forgetfulness will vary depending on the person. When these medications are used, forgetfulness may be reduced or eliminated but it won’t go away completely.

ADHD Coaching for Adults

An ADHD coach helps you learn to manage your symptoms that are related to forgetfulness. One of the ways this is done is by coming up with a “To Do” list for the day to help you stay organized.

ADHD coaching may also include providing you with guidelines on how to handle forgetfulness. Using memory aids, scheduling reminders in your calendar or making lists.

Nutrition and Alternative Therapies

  1. Protein

Many forgetful people forget to eat protein and this can make forgetfulness worse. Protein is the building blocks of your brain and muscles, which means that if you’re not eating enough protein, you could end up forgetful. Protein assists in clearing out toxins from the brain and muscles help keep your mental health stable.

  1. Outcomes

Fruits and veggies are packed with antioxidants, which help remove toxins from the brain. This can improve forgetfulness significantly. Some forgetful people may forget to eat enough fruits or vegetables. This is because they do not like their taste or texture; however, this is a mistake as forgetting to eat them could make forgetfulness worse.

  1. Water

There are many forgetful people who forget to drink water due to how busy their lives are. Drinking enough water ensures that you have a healthy digestive system and your brain functions properly.

Many forgetful individuals do not get the recommended daily amount of water intake. This can cause forgetfulness issues to worsen over time. Make a goal to drink a minimum of eight glasses of water daily.

  1. Fish

Forgetful individuals forget about fish, which can have a negative impact on forgetfulness levels. Fish is very healthy for the brain and will help prevent forgetfulness from occurring over time. If you do not like fish or if it isn’t available in your area, you can eat fish oil supplements.

  1. Alternative Therapies

Forgetful people tend to forget about alternative and natural remedies for forgetfulness. Natural remedies, like acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and aromatherapy work by relaxing the body and mind. They help with forgetfulness too. These treatments also help prevent forgetfulness from occurring over time.

  • acupressure
  • aromatherapy
  • meditation
  • yoga

Physical exercise has been shown to enhance memory, but exactly how it does so is not well understood. Some rats were injected with a substance called LPS, which is found in bacteria. The rats then had to do some tests related to short-term memory or the ability to figure out where they are. These animals did better on learning tasks when they ran on the wheel.

If you use alternative treatments, they can help you remember more. But if you don’t use them, then with time you will forget more things. It’s possible that you’re forgetful and can’t recall these treatments because of how packed your schedule is or if they aren’t working for you. It may be worth seeing a physician who specializes in forgetfulness if this is the case.

Final Thoughts

It’s not an easy question to answer, “How can I stop being forgetful with ADHD?”

However, it is possible. It will take time and patience to find the right solution for you or your loved ones who have been diagnosed with this condition.

We invite you to start a free consultation with us. We will talk about your problem and what has worked in the past with people who have had problems like yours. We will help you find the best treatment plan, which might be different from someone else’s.

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