i keep on forgetting things
August 3, 2008 5:17 PM   Subscribe

Increasingly, I seem to have problems concentrating, and sometimes I forget what I'm talking about in the middle of a sentence.  This used to happen just occasionally, but I feel like it is happening more and more.

I do get distracted easily, so I didn't really think much of it at first, but I'm a little worried at the increasing frequency of the forgetfulness. (If I make sure I really, really focus ahead of time, I dont have the lapses)

I'm not sure who I should go to first. (Doctor? Behavioral health?).  Anyone encountered something like this before?
posted by waylaid to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How old are you? Tired? Any other symptoms?
posted by availablelight at 5:26 PM on August 3, 2008

Eat better, sleep better, tend to anything and everything that's worrying you.
posted by zeek321 at 5:29 PM on August 3, 2008

Consult your doctor. This could be caused by many, many things and you want to get a physical to rule out anything like, for instance, sleep apnea (which causes tiredness and lack of concentration).

If your GP gives you a clean bill of health, then you can pursue the behavioral angle. It may be helpful for you to meditate or learn other relaxation techinques - stress can cause forgetfulness. But do go to your doctor first.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:38 PM on August 3, 2008

It never hurts to mention stuff to your doctor. After that, you might want to start keeping a basic journal as well, so you have something to track how you feel. You could just note this stuff in your planner, like "sleep 5 hrs, stress level 8/10, concentration 2/10". That's basically what I did when I had headaches all the time, and I found out it wasn't anything serious but rather caffeine that was causing most of the headaches.

Basically, everyone worries about losing their edge. Try to pin down some patterns and see if more of the good stuff (sleep, exercise, reading, fun) helps your concentration.
posted by belau at 5:50 PM on August 3, 2008

late 20s. no real other symptoms!

the stress level of my life isn't high at all - so that's why I'm worried. there's no real 'life' reason that I would have this much problem with concentration and forgetfulness.
posted by waylaid at 7:18 PM on August 3, 2008

Seeing your doctor is a good idea. Your doc will probably want to run some blood tests. Anything that affects your sleeping could be a factor (such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome). Depression can also affect memory and concentration.
posted by braveterry at 7:37 PM on August 3, 2008

Avoid refined sugar. After I stopped eating refined sugar (and other started to eat like a healthy old man), my mental acuity sharpened.

Also, sleep well. Are you feeling depressed or anxious? Try popping a kava pill now and again and see if it helps you any. Exercise in the morning, too. You might be suffering from some significant anxiety without your realizing it, and both physical activity early on and mild relaxants later on can help you out. Nothing wrong with having a glass of red wine (or equivalent) at around dinner time, as well.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:53 PM on August 3, 2008

Oh, and try doing little mental exercises to keep your neurons sharp. Crossword puzzles, puzzle books, go, chess, something. Start reading short but fascinating books about subjects you may have previously thought daunting.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:54 PM on August 3, 2008

I'm in my late 20's and am going through the same thing. I haven't made large steps towards correcting this, but what progress I've made makes me suspect that the main cause is age-related and/or behavioral. (Although my sleeping schedule and diet are not the greatest.) I wouldn't be surprised if most males go through this in their late 20's and it's just something you never get warned about. (Kind of like how no one really warns you about how hair loss and weight gain start as soon as you're out of high school.)

What you're doing now - acknowledging it as a problem and focusing more - is what works for me. The above dietary and exercise advice helps, too. Basically, this is your body and mind undergoing its continued maturity, so adjust accordingly.
posted by greenland at 10:00 PM on August 3, 2008

I get this way more and more when I am spending more time noodling around online. When I take a break or cut way down on my internet noodling, my concentration goes back up again. Not saying that's what your problem is, but internet diet for a week or two is an easy enough thing to try out.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:06 PM on August 3, 2008

Try ginkgo biloba supplements.
posted by aielen at 2:15 AM on August 4, 2008

Seeing your doctor is a good place to start. A few blood tests can either identify or rule out a lot of things.

For example, thyroid problems are less common in men than women, but they do happen. Before I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid, I could swear that I was getting more stupid by the day - one of my biggest irritants was forgetting what I was going to say mid-sentence. There are often other symptoms as well, but not always.
posted by scrute at 2:45 AM on August 4, 2008

Mid-20's, similar situation. I recommend the following in specific order:

A) Exercise. Both physical and mental. Even 20 minutes of easy stuff two or three days a week. Memory tests, logic games are great. It may be that you just need to get back into shape.
B) Talk to your doctor. They will probably tell you to eat better and take better care of yourself (if they're responsible). But getting a blood test would rule out a lot the scarier bits associated with your symptoms.
C) Talk to a psychiatrist. You may have adult ADD. A low dosage of Ritalin or adderall will snap you back into focus immediately.

Aside: I found that carrying around a notebook & pen everywhere really helped with remembering tasks, ideas, names etc... The process of writing things down really burned the info into my memory in a way nothing else could.

Good luck!
posted by willie11 at 8:19 AM on August 4, 2008

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