Difficulty Concentrating: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Difficulty concentrating is a normal and periodic occurrence for most people. 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. The hallmark condition associated with difficulty concentrating is attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition that has been increasingly diagnosed in both children an adults in recent years. Rare conditions that affect the brain and some emotional problems as well as endocrinologic disturbances can also influence an individual's cognitive functions and thus impair concentration.

Other causes of difficulty concentrating

  • Hunger
  • Medications

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019
References
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
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