Use ADD to improve your memory

Many people with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have difficulty remembering. They may have difficulty recalling, focusing, organizing, and distinguishing between important and unimportant cues. They may be easily distracted, forgetful, or have difficulty starting tasks. Lengthy multi-step instructions are often frustrating and impossible to follow.

This article discusses the relationship between ADHD and memory, including how this condition affects working memory and long-term memory. It also covers strategies to help people with ADHD train and improve memory.

The link between ADHD and memory

Studies have shown that people with ADHD have a variety of memory problems, including poor short-term and long-term memory. Many symptoms of ADHD, especially inattention, can affect the way information is encoded and stored in memory.

Because children and adults with ADHD may not pay as much attention to certain things in their surroundings as they need, they are less likely to form memories of this information.

ADHD and working memory

Research has also shown that people with ADHD often have serious problems with working memory.

Working memory is a “temporary storage system” in the brain that stores multiple facts or ideas when solving problems or performing tasks. Working memory helps people retain information long enough to use it in the short term, focus on a task, and remember what to do next.

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Working memory is important to retain information long enough for you to take action. This is important for completing all aspects of daily life, such as following instructions, planning actions, following schedules, and organizing activities.

The deficit in working memory explains why children and adults with ADHD have difficulty completing tasks such as staying on track, staying organized, and completing projects.

A study published in the journal in 2020 Neuropsychology It has been found that most children with ADHD show obstacles in working memory. Previous studies have found similar effects on adults with this disease.

ADHD and long-term memory

Research also shows that ADHD can affect long-term memory. Although adults with ADHD have been shown to perform poorly on long-term memory tests, the exact explanation for this effect is not fully understood.

A 2017 study investigated the performance of adults with ADHD on long-term memory tests. It was found that the participants’ performance on the verbal memory test was significantly lower than that of the control group. The researchers concluded that these memory deficiencies are related to information encoding problems and not related to memory retrieval problems.

How to improve your working memory

Studies have shown that mental exercise may increase the working memory of people with ADHD. Working memory is like a muscle-flexible, mobile, and trainable. It can be improved through “exercise” and training.

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You can find various working memory challenges online. It may test your ability to recall visual patterns or recall auditory information. Some things you might try include:

  • Try online memory tools: look for websites or apps that provide challenges and aim to build your memory of verbal and visual information.
  • Playing brain games: Some evidence suggests that cognitive training, also called brain games, may help improve working memory and other abilities such as concentration, problem solving, and reasoning. Some of these games may involve memory, pattern recognition, planning, visual prediction, logic, and mathematics.
  • Use memory strategies: When you know you have memory problems, look for tools and strategies that can help you remember important information. Using mnemonics, writing down important information, and setting reminders on your phone may help you stay on track.
  • Do only one task at a time: Because of poor working memory, it is difficult to handle multiple tasks at the same time. You may find it helpful to avoid multiple tasks at the same time-instead, only do one activity at a time. Eliminate interference as much as possible. Setting time limits and setting alarms may also help, so that you can focus all of your attention on a single task in a limited amount of time. Doing so reduces the possibility of you being distracted by other tasks and forgetting to return to the task you are working on.
  • Exercise: Some studies have shown that physical exercise can be a useful non-drug tool for managing ADHD symptoms and improving brain structure and function. A study found that preschoolers who participated in an after-school physical activity program performed better on tasks that required working memory.
  • Medication: Stimulant medications are usually used to treat the symptoms of ADHD. Some evidence suggests that this drug can also improve the function of brain regions related to working memory.
  • Consider treatment: You may also find that treatment helps solve the memory problems that accompany ADHD. Treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focus on helping people change the thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that cause problems. CBT can help you learn new coping mechanisms, including time management and goal setting skills.

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The practice of “training” working memory helps to improve one’s concentration, control impulsive behavior, and strengthen problem-solving skills.

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Although ADHD is related to memory difficulties, research also shows that people can take some measures to solve these problems. Brain training, memory strategies, and following your doctor’s ADHD treatment recommendations are all steps you can take to help improve memory.

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