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Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Is forgetfulness normal for a 17 year old?


Hello, Good day.
I am 17 years old and I have been having memory problems.
1. I left my keys in my locker hanging out about three times for this year.
2. I have left my water container multiple times at school.
3. I have to teach myself majority of the content teachers teach because when they speak,  the word move from one ear to the next.
4. I left some products I recently just bought in the store along with my watch.
5. When using flashcards to study, I left them in the freezer and I did not realize.
6. Sometimes, I don't recall the names of the characters in a series I have watched for a while.
7. I left my phone in the library.
8. I leave my books in class.
9. I left my tablet at the hairdresser.
10. Sometimes, I arrive at class and the teacher starts giving us a test and everyone else knew about it except me.
11. The only classes I have ever learnt anything in is in Physics and Math class.
12. I get fairly good grades and I study hard and I live in Jamaica.
13. I did very well in my examinations.
14. I remember things my mnemonics but it is difficult to remember them any other way.
15. I have a very short attention span and I do not do well in lectures.
Do you think that these are normal for a 17 year old to experience? All of these things happened this year. Do you think I should see someone? Is it exam stress? I am really worried about this. I should add that I have done a recent exam and I am awaiting the results which comes out on august 9th. A prompt response would be appreciated.

That is quite a long list of things that you have been forgetting and I understand why you are concerned. We all forget things from time to time--we all will walk into a room and not remember what we were planning to do or misplace our keys or wallet, but it does seem that you have a greater-than-usual experience with forgetting. Some things that stood out for me were leaving items AND your watch at the store, putting flashcards in the freezer, and the various episodes of lack of attention or retention. These are more uncommon and makes me wonder what might be going on to cause these events.

The anxiety that gets triggered in you when you take exams could possibly be contributing tot the memory deficits. However, as I understand your descriptions, the issue seems to be more pervasive and long standing, not just isolated to exam taking.  Therefore I am going to recommend the following:

I think getting evaluated by a licensed psychologist would be a very good first step. That person will not only do some testing, s/he will conduct an in-depth interview to see what stressors are occurring alongside the forgetfulness. Sometimes, when you have a lot on your mind, or if you are experiencing a great deal of anxiety or fear, your memory will suffer. You could also possibly have some type of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder but that can be determined by the evaluation.

I would also suggest you speak to your medical doctor. Sometimes there can be physical reasons that could cause memory loss and lack of attention. Perhaps the best approach would be to see the psychologist and then the medical doctor. If there are any ADHD issues, there are medications available that can be of great help. I hope this information is useful to you. I wish you the best of luck.

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Jacquelynn Cunliffe


I would like to answer under the category of Psychiatry and Psychology. However, I would like to see a separate category for Psychotherapy/Psychoanalysis. I do not answer questions about medications as I do not prescribe. My expertise is in psychotherapeutic treatment.


I am a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst who specializes in the treatment of mental health issues caused by childhood trauma, domestic abuse, eating disorders, relationship difficulties, and a wide variety of psychological disorders. The kind of therapy I do is often referred to as deep therapy, talk therapy, or psychoanalytic therapy. Please note that I am not against medications and when managed well, medication can be an adjunct to psychotherapy intervention. I think it is important for the public to realize that psychodynamic or psychoanalytic psychotherapy DOESmake changes not only in people's minds but those changes can also be detected in their brain structure. Psychotherapy and psychoanalysis are powerful interventions to help people change their lives from the inside out.

American Psychoanalytic Association American Psychiatric Nurse Association Member of Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia Member of National Eating Disorder Association

Ph.D.-University of Pennsylvania, Psychology and Education, Division of Human Development M.S.N. and R.N.-B.C. Board Certified Nurse in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. 2-Year Adult Psychotherapy Program graduate 2-Year Child Psychotherapy Graduate Current: Candidate in Psychoanalytic Training at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia

Past/Present Clients
I have worked with clients who have experienced significant childhood traumas. These patients come with a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations, relationship difficulties and diagnoses such as Personality Disorders, Adjustment Disorders, and, though rarely, Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly multiple Personality Disorder)

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