ADD Memory Loss Focus Studying

I’ve had ADD my whole life. Its the kind where I have memory loss and extreme loss of focus. Best way to describe it is when you are tired trying to read a book. At some point your eyes are reading but your brain flouts off thinking about how ninjas could fly robot jets. When you come back to earth you have no idea what you read. Its like that but every single sentence no matter how much rest I have.
Currently I’m taking Vyvance but high school has scarred me and left me filled with terror at the thought of studying. I want to try and learn code. I’m hoping to overcome my fear of study by using Vyvance and hopefully get some tips from other people who can’t seem to read but figured out a way to overcome. Any advice? How do you stay on task? How do you remember things?

1 Like

Sometimes it’s what you’re reading that can be a challenge. With something like coding, it can be pretty dense and hard to focus on, so I’d actually consider looking into Youtube videos or courses that you can take. Sometimes as ADHD learners we need more direct stimulation rather than banging our heads against a page of a book we can’t focus on.

You can also try doing things before you read to help with focus. I’m guessing you’ve tried these before, but doing things like getting good sleep, reading right when your medication starts to kick in, exercising before reading, or even reading in an environment that is most conducive to your attention. For example, maybe your thoughts get too loud so you might need something to drown them out like a white noise machine. Maybe you get too distracted by noise so you need a quiet place to read without stimulation such as a library or a reading room. Maybe you read better on the couch or on the bed than in a chair.

It can also be good to get used to reading by reading something fun. Start with easy stuff. Then once you’re in the habit of reading again, try to pepper in the technical stuff.

Lastly, it could be something else is getting in the way like anxiety or depression. Working with a therapist or med provider can be beneficial to try to address the lingering issues. Whatever you end up doing, good luck! It’s no easy fix but I’m sure you can do it!


Oh man this post is littered with great ideas. Thank you! I’m copying this and re-reading it before studying cause a lot of what you said really clicked. There IS places I notice I read better like the couch and exercising before reading, reading when the meds kick in. I think if I combine all this stuff maybe it will sink in better.


Good luck!

1 Like

Hey there! Random thoughts for 1000. If you have a really hard time reading no matter where you are or what the text is, you might have an actual reading problem. I’ve heard dyslexia is a very common comorbidity. I don’t know anything about you though and am not a doctor, so it’s just an idea to maybe consider.

I personally found that listening to music helps my brain focus. It seems to fill the channels in my brain so they aren’t running around on their own looking to be filled and causing distractions. I wasn’t diagnosed until a couple years out of college, but found even back in high school that listening to rock music helped me do math-based homework, and when I started having reading assignments I started listening to some upbeat jazz (not quite as mentally satisfying though). There’s a lot of “ADHD focus, brain intense, fancy waves” music on YouTube that you could try as well.

Oh, and I used to bribe myself with food, too! That seemed to add some stimulation, external motivation, mini distraction to my focus, etc. So if I were reading a long thing for class or something, I’d give myself a cheez-it at the end of each paragraph, and get up for a quick bathroom break at the end of each section or something like that.

And taking notes on the material can help you a) remember what you read, b) focus on the text to determine what is important to know, and c) give your brain little switches in focus (kinda like a distraction) so maybe it can focus on the reading for a bit longer. Oh, and you could try fidgeting if you haven’t already!

Everyone’s brain is different, so try a bunch of things and see what works for you! You could do it like a science experiment and write down the “test” conditions and results so you can remember what helped and what didn’t. It could even be something like the time of day, whether you’ve eaten or had enough water or sleep or sunlight, etc.


for me it’s the same with reading, that’s why my Dr asked me to check if I might be a bit dyslexic. I can’t focus when I’m reading. it’s better to have a marker or sticky notes and try to mark or right a certain paragraph that would remind you of what you read in each page. When you finish try to add them all together to get a full understanding. if you like drawing or have a high imagination make a story out of what you are reading in ur mind so it sticks more.

Well I’m just thinking with you, never tried anything of what I just said.

Studying in general, what helps me is doing a lot of exercises and studying with charts (to encourage my brain to get what’s going on).

1 Like

This is exactly why I chose to study Mechanical Engineering! I can actually see what’s going on. It’s a physical thing and the forces on it are little arrows pointing a certain way, or materials are like little grids being pulled and pushed. But I totally get that math is not for everyone! I myself had a hard time with coding because it was hard for my brain to plan everything ahead in a straight line like that and memorize all the different syntax rules. Our brains can do some fascinating stuff though. We just have to learn how to help it out sometimes.