What is concentration difficulty?

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, overactivity, 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.

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.

Depending upon the cause, concentration difficulties may resolve with appropriate treatment.

Any changes in concentration abilities that do not have a directly identifiable cause or that last more than a day or two should be evaluated by a medical professional without delay. Seek prompt medical carefor new onset, progressive, or worsening difficulties with concentration. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if the symptoms come on suddenly or if they are associated with head trauma, changes in level of consciousness or alertness, the worst headache of your life, high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), loss of sensation, seizures, or sudden behavior change, such as confusion, delirium, lethargy, hallucinations or delusions.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with concentration difficulty?

Concentration difficulties may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Conditions that lead to concentration difficulty may involve several different body systems.

Infection symptoms that may occur along with concentration difficulty

Concentration difficulties may accompany symptoms related to infection including:... Read more about concentration difficultysymptoms

CAUSES

What causes concentration difficulty?

Concentration difficulties can be caused by medical, cognitive or psychological problems or may be related to sleep disorders or medications, alcohol or drugs.

Psychological conditions that can interfere with concentration include anxiety, depression, Read more about concentration difficultycauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves