Psychologist Questions Mental Health

Is forgetfulness a mental illness?

I'm starting to notice I have become very forgetful. It's really worrying me. Small everyday things are also slipping my mind. I am always preoccupied with thoughts. Is something really wrong? I am only 29.

13 Answers

There are many possible reasons for people, even at your age, to notice and increase in forgetfulness. Anxiety and stress can be major contributors to the symptoms you are describing. There are certainly other possibilities that a well trained psychologist or psychiatrist could help you determine and suggest appropriate treatments to remedy the situation.
Forgetfulness, in my humble opinion, is the result of being a child who was under orders: Don't do this. Do this. Now do this. You have more to do. Do this. It is a child who has to obey and wire her actions to someone else orders. Or, it could be a childhood where there was simply no training in where to keep things. When that happens a person is not organized in their mind. They don't learn to focus on their own systems and create their own order and planning. If they get over extended, it is worse. Much worse. So, Rx: Don't get over extended. Cut down on responsibilities. Organize your life and your system. Make time to sit. The intrusive thoughts can come in then, and they are the thoughts that often want a solution. Sit, pay attention to your thoughts and know that they need to be addressed. The more current you get (caught up), the less you will forget.

Thank you for reaching out. Of course, it is hard to give a definitive answer as I do not know your history or current stressors. You might find it helpful to speak with your primary care physician if you are truly worried. Please keep in mind that if you are currently experiencing a lot of stress or anxiety, it can impact your thought process, concentration, and even memory. If this is the case, it could be helpful to speak with a psychologist to address these concerns and to determine effective ways of coping with these symptoms. Please feel free to reach out with any additional questions. Take care!
There are many factors that can contribute to memory loss.You first might want to start off asking yourself if you were possibly depressed.Russian has many symptoms that can throw you off memory loss being one of them. This is a good opportunity for you to go see a therapist to get assessed for possible depression or ADD. If both are ruled out you might want to see a neurologist however you were only 29 so I would stick to possibly taking more care of yourself and helping yourself organize her thoughts and possibly try meditation
That must be very scary! I would make an appointment with your primary care, who will probably refer you to a specialist, such as a neurologist. I would not think about this as a "mental illness."

Good luck!


Marian Shapiro
People do exhibit poor concentration, difficulty thinking, or forgetfulness when they are depressed, anxious, stressed or highly preoccupied with something. If this is the case, you can make efforts to alleviate those issues or seek additional help from a mental health professional. Also, keep in mind that if you respond to forgetfulness with anxiety or worry, you will likely find yourself exhibiting more forgetfulness. Perhaps give yourself a break from the worry for 2 weeks. Tell yourself you will re-assess how you are doing then. If no improvement has occurred, meet with a specialist, i.e., a neurologist, to rule out any serious problem.

Naomi Jacobs, Ph.D.
Dear Sir/Madam:
Your concern is legitimate. Have you had any recent brain traumas? Are you using drugs? You may need to get a thorough check up through your physician. I hope that you have been in contact with them.
You may also want to contact a neuropsychologist and/or neuropsychiatrist and let them evaluate you as, on the one hand, you are saying that small, everyday things you have difficulty remembering, yet you are always preoccupied with thoughts!
Take care,
Dr. Sonpal
This is common with other things going on like anxiety or depression.

Dr. Gifford
This is common if you are under a lot of stress. From your statement that you are always preoccupied, it is a symptom that more is happening in your life.
Take Dr. Amen's free assessment online dealing with ADD. Note the outcomes - you may have a type of ADD. Forgetfulness in itself is not a mental illness - it is natural and a way for the human brain not to get too over loaded.
There are many things to consider-adequate sleep, stress, hormonal challenges, how much you have going on and more. I would not be concerned about mental illness unless you have a history of it.
I don’t know what is going on in your life right now but I would assume that there are emotional issues that may be bothering you and can be stored in your subconscious mind. We all go through things in our lives. Nothing to really worry about right now. You are at the age when the human brain can absorb more and things at a given time. Just try to focus on things and stay strong doing so. You will be fine eventually. Enjoy your life and be happy.
Forgetfulness is a common human experience. Unless there has been significant brain damage with a major medical event like a stroke, traumatic brain injury with a significant loss of consciousness, or brain tumor, memory concerns are typically the result of inattention often found in mental illnesses like mood disorders or anxiety. Follow up with your medical and/or mental health provider.