Memory and Focus Training for Those with ADHD

ADDitude Magazine has just posted a good article about three different types of memory and focus training, how they work, and the basic research behind them.  CogMed, which I talk about in my course and book, is one of them, and has been researched for adults as well as children.  You can find the article here.


help for couples where wife has ADD inattentive type!



Hi Dr.Orlov,

My husband and I have been reading your book ADHD Effect on Marriage and we love it. It's been helping us a lot. We're about half-way through it, but have both noticed that many if not most of the examples are of couples where the female is the nonADHD spouse. I am the one with ADHD in our duo, and I have the inattentive type. A lot of our problems are covered by the book, but you haven't talked about the inertia, sometimes social phobia, difficulty socially with different social expectations of women/wives, and those things, that we can see, so far. It also would be really nice to read about other couples who are more like us (you do say at one point that one thing that happens sometimes with couples where the wife has ADHD is that the husband feels the need to become sort-of domineering, which does sometimes happen with us -- and this was helpful).

Anyway, maybe these type of couples are less common, or women with ADHD, esp inattentive type, tend to speak up less, whereas the nonADHD women spouses maybe reach out more, I don't know. I have read Sari Solden's book and have Terry Madlen's book Survival Tips for Women, but if you know of anything else out there specifically for "our" group, or if you have your own material on it, that would be hugely helpful.

Thank you very much for everything you are doing -- it helps a lot.



women with ADHD

Hi - thanks for the note...I have to note here that I'm not a Dr...!

You are right about the examples - this is partly the case because more men than women are currently diagnosed (not fair!!) and also because I took a lot of the examples from this forum, and while it has both men and women on it with ADHD, women aren't highly represented.  Anyway, please try to adapt what I write to your situation.

As for Inertia, social phobia, social difficulties - I'm not sure these things are gender-specific.  I have worked with a number of women with ADHD - I find that when we start they are often depressed and feeling underappreciated and, often, socially awkward...but I would say that this applies to many (not all) of the men I start working with, too.  Men don't express their feelings of social awkwardness as readily as women do - it seems to manifest more as a general lack of socializing at all, or of stories (from their wives) of social "failures" of one sort or another.

Inertia is definitely non-gender specific.  I have on man, for example, who comes home from work exhausted and simply lands on the couch and surfs his phone for hours.  Others who may sit in their office thinking about straightening it out and never do one thing - it's too overwhelming.  Often, they have a partner who gets on their case about it and berates them (gently or not so gently) for not achieving more, faster.

My typical approach to helping women with ADHD is to help them develop something about which they are proud to be doing - something that gives them their own place of stature in the world.  It's not that much different from helping men overcome self-esteem issues, except that the "currency" that each gender values is sometimes different.

I don't know if this helps you think about your issues differently or not.  I'm glad you found Sari Solden - she's an excellent resource for women with ADHD.  So is Tara McGillicuddy if you haven't found her yet.

Write back to this forum area if you have other questions or ideas you want to explore.

Is this memory dysfunction a part of ADHD?

My husband has severe short term memory and some long term memory but I am concerned lately that he is positive I did something that I know 100% I did not. I felt I had to put my hand on the bible and swear to God that it didn't happen. I feel scared about's hard dealing with reality, let alone this. I have not read this any where and I would appreciate any help. thank you

Memory problems

Memory problems definitely can be related to ADHD but there could be other causes as well. Sometimes I worry that my husband is developing early Alzheimer's (his mom has Alzheimer's, as did his grandmother) because of his memory issues, but it's likely that the forgetfulness or remembering things incorrectly is caused by ADHD.


This is a major problem. I used to think DH's memory was OK but different. Now I am realizing, his reality is different ... he changes a memory to suit his needs. He lies to himself as a way of dealing with his inadequacies. He lies to me to not be caught in his inadequacies. His greatest talent is talking people into things. I used to keep an open mind and consider that I perceived things wrong or give him the benefit of the doubt or just let him have his way because it wasn't worth a fight. This is wrong to do that because it messes up BOTH your realities. It sets a stage where he will one day not know truth from his own fantasy world in which he can live and never have to be accountable/responsible....just SAY he did it/is doing it/will do it ....and in his own mind that is just as good as doing it. THEN, also, your own sanity it compromised because you have been turned around and denied yourself your own integrity. This becomes a habit in which you have enabled him to "get away" with not being trustworthy. There is no relationship without trust and communication. And in the end, the onus of the problem is with us because we "let" them get away with lying to themselves and to us. How often have you heard the words, "I never said that!", "You never told me that!", "You are crazy, I never did that!" ?

"How often have you heard the

"How often have you heard the words, "I never said that!", "You never told me that!", "You are crazy, I never did that!" ?" Jennalemon, obviously no-one can speak for your husband but himself, however I had heard serially (over time) "I remember when x", "I don't remember x, nor did I ever tell you x", "I remember when x". In my husband's case, this really seems like misfiring in the recall circuits. Add to it attempts at compensation (being ashamed of not remembering something, leading to deflection, denial or plain blanking) and I agree it can look like deliberate obfuscation. In my husband's case it is pretty interesting to just watch the effect of the meds and see it rapidly diminish on a different med. Of course if your husband discussed this with a psychiatrist, the psych could either try medication or could probably figure out if s/he is being led down the garden path. I think from your past posts (am relatively new so have not real all) that he is probably unwilling to address this, and that is a real shame because it may have a physical cause. It sounds like he is not open to addressing these issues, maybe because he thinks it would mean a lot of work and he thinks he is getting by just fine.


jennalemon, this was a serious issue with my ex and me. I thought he was a great storyteller (he was, charming and very funny when we met.) I started to notice over the years that his stories were exaggerated, off, or just plain didn't happen that way. He was such a strong debater, I felt loyal, and he got so riled up when I tried to ask him about it ("You're calling me a liar!") that I just let it go, too. I started to doubt my own memory of things. The reason that we had a problem is that I couldn't even occupy a neutral ground and say, "Well, we'll just have to remember it differently," or "Let's just agree to disagree," because he could not let my questioning him go, and he would debate me until I gave up. Wow, what could build up that level of defensiveness?

Frequently the memories were of something that happened for a short term (like him cooking something for the kids a few times and then stopping) that would change into him making it sound like he cooked for them every day for years, as a rule. Or that he worked ceaselessly, alone, to rehab our house when in fact I did quite a bit of it and he worked in a spurt for about two weeks and made it sound like it went on for months. He also would tell people things like he had a gift for them for their birthday when in fact I knew he hadn't bought it yet. And then he would not buy it. I think he intended to buy it and probably wanted to have something for this person. But there was no follow through and a little white hope/lie would turn into a larger one (I am sure the person noticed that the gift never arrived!) I think it's sad that he can't function enough to go get someone a birthday present. I do. 

I used to get really mad and think he was lying on purpose. Now I have some perspective. I think that that his reality and his sense of truth and real and not real and intent are different than mine. I think his ADHD is significant and truly affects every aspect of his life, including huge memory issues. It's a shame he won't treat it. I don't think it's ok to not tell the truth, but he's not an evil person. He has terrible self-esteem and he is actually pretty damaged inside--I think the better reality he creates is to deal with this. In the end, his defensiveness and denial and refusal to treat his ADHD meant I could not be married to him. But I'm not mad at him over it any more. If he wants to live that way, it's his decision. He has to know deep down, maybe afterward, that he said something that is not wholly true, but maybe not. I just don't let it affect me any more. 

Try to let yourself off the hook. Your spouse had a stronger need or personality than you did with this issue. You tried to keep the peace and keep the ship afloat. I don't think you sacrificed your integrity as much as you were supportive and wanted to avoid what could be terrible conflict. Nothing wrong with that. Not sure what to advise from here on out, though. Mine was a brick wall about this issue and pretty set in his ways now that we are in our forties. 

Best to you. 

I, too, am not mad at my

I, too, am not mad at my husband for his bad memory. I know that it's related to ADHD and that it's not an issue of morality or ethics when he says something that isn't true.  But it does bother me that although he will occasionally acknowledge that this is an ADHD-related issue, he still won't do anything to deal with making behavioral changes to improve his ADHD-affected functioning.

Memory: The Verbal Edition

My ADHD husband has (had?) the verbal edition of this, as in "you did/did not say x" and "I did/did not say x". Discussing it with him, he described rehearsing conversations in his head (so that he would know what he meant to say and not get flustered during a conversation), but them sometimes he thought the rehearsal was the real thing and eg he thought he'd already said something he meant to say but never did. A side effect of this is starting conversations in the middle (which as you can imagine leads to all kinds of crossed communications, many of which in hindsight are hysterically funny but very puzzling at the time). According to Daniel Amen's books, this sometimes accompanies what he calls temporal lobe ADHD, which does seem to fit my h. Since we'd already decided SSRIs don't work for him, we tried gabapentin. Now his memory is much better, indicating to me that the memory is often there but unlocking it and getting it to the mouth on-demand was the problem. Very interesting to see if this continues to improve (his gapapentin dose is very very low too, so much more room to play with that). I don't have to agree with Daniel Amen's views to know that meds do make a difference, both good and bad, to memory and recall. So maybe that is something you could look at - wrong meds or no meds, a psych/dr should be told if he/she doesn't know already,