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Focus Disorder: What's Happening & What to Do

Everybody has difficulty focusing at some point in their lives - having trouble focusing at work is an especially common complaint. However, some people experience focus disorders that cause even more problems with concentration, and these can make problems more frequent and more severe. If you can't stay focused, keep reading to learn all about focus disorder.

Focus Disorder: What's Happening & What to Do

Diagnosis of Focus Disorder

When you visit a doctor to discover the cause of your difficulty focusing, you will be given a series of medical tests. These help the doctor figure out which diagnosis is causing your problem, since there are several possibilities.

To diagnose ADD or ADHD specifically, there is a series of interviews and questionnaires that you will be given in order to report your symptoms to see if they match the diagnosis for the disorder. These tests assign numbers to frequency and severity of symptoms to help your doctor assess whether you can be diagnosed or not.

Causes of Difficulty Focusing

Problems with focusing are not always due to disorders, but when the problems become severe and interrupt your daily life, it is best to explore possibilities of what might be causing them.

The most common cause of difficulty focusing is ADD or ADHD, even among adults. This disorder is characterized by difficulty concentrating on one thing for a long time, as well as being easily distracted and having difficulty with memory and organization. If you are experiencing trouble focusing, your doctor will most likely begin by testing you for ADD or ADHD.

In some cases, difficulty focusing may be caused by another illness or disorder. Hormonal imbalances are a common cause of trouble focusing among women. During menopause or any other time when hormone levels are out of balance, there can be a number of side effects. Because estrogen has so much importance in regulating body functions, a decrease in estrogen levels can cause a number of problems, including trouble focusing. Other conditions that cause focus problems include depression and anxiety.

How to Manage a Focus Disorder

Once you have a diagnosis, you can begin to work on ameliorating your trouble focusing. It can be hard to know what to do when you can't focus, since many people assume it is solely a lack of effort or laziness rather than a true disorder. However, there are several different ways to work on improving focus.

Some changes affect your environment or your mindset. These strategies include minimizing distractions, eating and drinking enough, devoting your attention to one task at a time, and giving yourself a rest between tasks. Changes to your diet can also help to improve your brain's ability to focus.

In some cases, the difficulty focusing is so severe that the best way to treat the problem is with a medical intervention. This can be either therapy or the use of medications. Always talk to a doctor before deciding to try medications for focus, even if the medications don't require a prescription.

To learn more about difficulty focusing, read about ways to prevent concentration problems.

Q&A: Why am I Finding it Hard to Concentrate During Menopause?

Provides answers to common questions regarding difficulty concentrating during menopause. The reasons for this problem are explained, as well as symptoms

Sources:
  • Attention Deficit Disorder Association. (2016). Adult ADHD Test. Retrieved May 23, 2017, from https://add.org/adhd-test/
  • Greendale, G.A., Derby, C.A. & Maki, P.M. (2012). Perimenopause and Cognition. Obstetrics and gynecology clinics of North America, 38(3). Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51683879_Perimenopause_and_Cognition
  • National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Retrieved May 23, 2017, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml