Difficulty in Concentration

Head | Neurology | Difficulty in Concentration (Symptom)


Concentration represents the ability to focus on a specific stimulus. Concentration difficulty is a decreased ability to focus your thoughts on something.


Concentration difficulties can be related to difficulty staying awake, impulsiveness, intrusive thoughts or concerns, over activity, or inattention. They can be caused by medical, cognitive or psychological problems or may be related to sleep disorders or medications, alcohol or drugs. Concentration difficulties may be long-term, established conditions, as in the case of attention deficit disorder, or they may arise as a result of illness or another event.

Tiredness and emotional stress can cause concentration problems in most people. Hormonal changes, such as those experienced during menopause or pregnancy, can also affect how we think and concentrate. Concentration problems, when present to an excessive degree, are also characteristic of certain physical and psychological conditions.

Medical conditions that are known to cause difficulties with concentration include a variety of chronic illnesses, sleep apnea, heavy metal poisoning, infections, pain syndromes, traumatic brain injury, and stroke. Cognitive problems that can be associated with concentration difficulties include attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities, vision disorders, delirium, and dementia. Psychological conditions that can interfere with concentration include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder (alternating periods of depression and elevated mood), emotional trauma, and stress.

Common characteristics of difficulty concentrating may include: lost train of thought, disorientation, fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate for long periods of time, inability to focus on complex tasks.