ADD and Memory

One of our readers commented on his experiences with vastly improving memory since his diagnosis of ADD, so I went to Dr. Hallowell to ask him – does ADD affect memory?  His response was typical Hallowell in the very best sense:
“My years of experience have taught me that ADD affects memory in a major way.  This is the analogy I use.  Think of your memory bank as a block of wood. Think of a piece of information or data or an image as the nail.  Attention is what hammers the nail into the wood.  This is what we mean by studying.  So, if attention is variable, many nails will not get hammered in.”

The original message from our reader shows from his own personal experience why improved memory from his ADD treatment is so important in his own relationships:

“… it's blazingly obvious in my own life (that memory and ADD are linked). I was diagnosed with ADHD about 18 months ago (I'm currently 38), and started on meds. When I look back over my life, it's like an enormous fogbank with occasional flashes of color...up until about 18 months ago. I can actually remember stuff that has happened since then. I can correlate multiple experiences and identify resulting consequences (and let me tell you, this has led to enormous revelations, both about myself and about my relationships). I can have a conversation about something that's happened in the past year and a half and not sound like a blithering idiot. In short: medication for ADHD has been a huge boost in my ability to remember things. It's vaguely possible that this is all attributable to some other thing, cause unknown, but Occam's Razor would place a thumb squarely on the ADHD.”

So, next time you are trying to think of reasons why it might make sense to get treatment for your ADD, think of Dr. Hallowell’s nail and hammer analogy, as well as how nice it would be to be able to “correlate multiple experiences and identify resulting consequences”!