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Can't Focus? You Might Have One of These Psychological Conditions
If we can’t focus it can become a major issue in life. It can stop you from moving forward in your career, and lead you to make mistakes in important areas like your finances.
Our lead writer Andrea M. Darcy explores.
Mental health conditions that mean you can’t focus
So what is behind your problem with focus? Is it just something small, or do you actually have a mental health condition?
1. Adult ADHD.
Many people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) make it through childhood without diagnosis. Perhaps they were very smart, so teachers didn’t bother referring them. Or their parents helped cover up any less than ideal behaviour.
ADHD can manifest differently when we are adults. Whereas in children hyperactivity or extreme dreaminess is often involved, Adult ADHD can manifest more as difficulty with your focus. This includes an inability to finish things, but also ‘hyper focus’, where you over focus on the wrong things. You have a big work deadline, and suddenly spend hours sorting your file cabinet.
Of course it’s not a great idea to self diagnose Adult ADHD, because it can leave you ignoring other causes for your inability to focus that might be easier to solve.
But if you are concerned, why not take our free quiz now , ‘Do you have adult ADHD?‘.
2. Depression and Anxiety.
A common symptom of depression is ‘fuzzy thinking‘, the inability to think clearly.
It can feel as if your brain is set on low, or your head is filled with wet sand. Focus becomes very difficult.
Anxiety, on the other hand, tends to leave your mind racing on repeat. You go over and over the same stressful thoughts, worries, and scenarios. This of course leaves very little headspace to focus clearly on tasks at hand.
Anxiety and depression can often come hand in hand. Nearly a half those who have depression also have an anxiety disorder.
Curious if you are depressed? Take our free quiz now, ‘Stressed, Depressed, or Both?“.
[Know you are depressed and anxious but scared of a therapy office? Why not try Skype therapy from the comfort of your own home? Book today, be talking this week to someone who really gets it.]
3. Emotional Shock and PTSD.
Emotional shock, also known as ‘acute stress reaction’ and ‘psychological shock’, happens due to an extreme life change or situation that is very upsetting. The brain cannot process all that is happening, leaving you in constant ‘fight or flight’ mode.
One of the main symptoms of emotional shock is not being able to think straight, or feeling all over the place. In other words, you can’t focus.
If you read the signs of emotional shock and feel like you have always had the symptoms, a trauma therapist can help you look at whether there is a traumatic experience in your childhood that is behind it.
If you know the event that caused you shock, and have symptoms for several months or more, it might be that you have PTSD. A longer lasting reaction to trauma, it can lead to addictions, severe depression, and social withdrawal.
By: Keoni Cabral
Addiction can be behind a lack of focus. In many cases it’s an addiction that you might not even be acknowledging.
This can include shopaholism, internet addiction, social media addiction, or love addiction.
Addiction causes the mind to be over-focussed on one thing, leaving less of your mind available to take care of everything else. You are scattered, you can’t think straight, you make constant mistakes.
Other Reasons You Are Distracted
Sometimes it’s not a mental health condition behind a lack of focus, but a lifestyle issue. See if any of the below resonate.
1. Boredom means you can’t focus.
If you are in a situation you don’t like, such as studying a program at school you hate, or working a job you can’t stand? Boredom can actually cause you to daydream and seek distracting thoughts or activities. In other words, it leaves you unfocussed.
Try journaling about what it is about your situation you do and don’t like, and what actions you could take to improve it. A life coach or career coach can also be helpful – see if your school or workplace provides one.2. Poor self-care.
An unhealthy lifestyle can behind your distraction. A poor diet including overeating can lead to foggy thinking. As can not exercising.
Learn about self-care.
The brain needs sleep to function well. Educate yourself about sleep and learn the simple changes you can make to have a better slumber. If you have not slept well in a long time and suspect you have a sleep disorder, speak to your GP.
4. A stressful lifestyle.
Stress can at first offer an adrenaline high that gives you clear thinking but this can quickly lead to a crash where we are so exhausted we can’t function, let alone focus and think well.
What do I do if this is me?
If you feel you have one of the mental health issues above, or just feel you need help making better lifestyle choices? It’s a great idea to seek support. We don’t have to be at rock bottom to talk to a counsellor or psychotherapist. In fact the sooner we reach out for support, the less chance there is rock bottom comes at all.
Ready to get your focus back? Harley Therapy offers you some of London’s top counselling psychologists and counsellors who can help. Not in London, or even the UK? Our booking site connects you with affordable therapists UK-wide or Skype therapy from wherever you are in the world.
Have another tip for increasing your focus in life? Or have you had therapy for one of the conditions above and found your focus improved? Start the conversation below.
photos by Bart Everson, Michael Dorokhov, Sean MacEntee, Ruby Goes
Andrea M. Darcy is the editor and lead writer for this blog. With a writing career spanning two decades, her favourite topics are now ADHD, trauma, and relationships.
Why you can’t think of that word on the tip of your tongue – and how to fix it - News
You know the feeling when you’re searching for a word and just can’t call it to mind?
It happens more and more as we age, often causing anxiety that the forgetfulness is a sign of oncoming dementia. That’s unlikely, says University of Florida researcher Lise Abrams. Tip-of-the-tongue states, as they’re known in psychology, are common and natural.
Abrams holds up a pen.
“If you forget what this is called, that’s a problem. But if you can’t come up with words like ‘abacus’ or ‘marsupial’ that’s completely normal,” she says.
Infrequently used words are often the culprits, as are proper names, says Abrams, who has been studying the phenomenon for 20 years. When words aren’t used often, connections to their sounds become weakened and make retrieval more difficult. Luckily, we can strengthen weakened connections to a word’s sounds. To prevent spacing out on a co-worker’s name in a meeting, Abrams suggests using names more often.
“We don’t often call people we know by their names when we are talking to them, but it strengthens the connections to their sounds when we do.” That applies to acquaintances, neighbors, even family members, Abrams says.
Video: Lise Abrams explains what should you do when you can’t think of a word
To study tip-of-the-tongue states, Abrams and her colleagues have developed a bank of hundreds of questions whose answers are well known, but not heard every day. A question Abrams used for years asked participants to name the casino magnate who starred in a reality television show. When Donald Trump began dominating the news, however, that question had to be retired.
Abrams also studies our ability to retrieve words when naming pictures. When the word ‘lion’ is written on a picture of a tiger, it slows a person’s retrieval of “tiger,” but a word sharing the same first syllable, such as ‘title,’ speeds retrieval. What about a picture of a tiger with the F-bomb on it? Taboo words not only slowed participants in coming up with the right word, but continued to hamper their performance in naming the next picture.
Here’s where it gets weird, though: Bad language isn’t always bad for word retrieval. When study participants spoke taboo words into a microphone and then answered a trivia question, they were less likely to have a tip-of-the-tongue moment relative to saying a neutral word.
Abrams wants to continue investigating how emotions, such as anxiety or frustration, impact speech production. She’s also interested in how having access to multiple languages, that is being bilingual, affects tip-of-the-tongue states and the ability to resolve them.
“Gaining a better understanding of how to resolve these word-finding problems when they happen, and how to prevent them, impacts people’s daily lives,” Abrams says. So if you can’t think of the word for a word that’s the same forward and backward, like radar, mom or racecar, don’t panic. It’s probably not dementia. (And it’s “palindrome.”)
Alisson Clark Author
May 31, 2017
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Requests for helpWrite your story
Dead. Dead when alive. It would be more correct to say: "I do not live, but I exist." There are no friends. Recently, I just lost the ability to think sensibly. Memories are like muddy water - I don’t remember anything, I can’t remember. replacing memories?), and in some places I close my eyes and clearly understand that I am not where I am now). I loved physics, mathematics, various high-tech (I came up with some cool projects at the age of 16), I was very sharp, serious, easy-going, athletic ... (I can even say that I was far from stupid, even smart) Now myself I don’t know, because I can’t do anything, I’m lethargic and drowsy. I have no strength, my brain doesn't work, I can't think. Out of 10 attempts to do something / undertake 0 successful. The feeling that I was killed, replaced by someone else ... Everyone always expects something from me, but I don’t know what, they scold and scold for failures, given the lack of victories, always ... I was lost. I keep forgetting everything. I am accused of being unable, as I am told, of "unwillingness" to do anything. Considered rubbish. When I answer the same - they say that I am Hamlo. I existed according to the principle: “I think, therefore I exist” (With the recent loss of the mental function, I don’t feel alive at all). nine0003
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Anton, age: 02/19/2018
Hello. Anton, try to contact a psychotherapist or a psychologist. Sometimes the advice of a competent specialist can be of great help. Drink vitamins, they will give strength. I really believe that your apathy will pass, and you will again become an active, cheerful, athletic, smiling guy. Good luck!
Irina, age: 30 / 02/27/2018
Anton, try to consult a neurologist or a psychiatrist (for starters, it’s better to have a private one or you can use the Internet).
Alexey, age: 02/30/2018
Anton, hello! I sympathize with you very much. Just don't despair. I advise you to immediately consult a doctor with your problem. Maybe you will be able to remember after what event it all started for you, it would be good. But if it doesn’t work out, then the doctor should help. condition. And one more thing: are there any genetic diseases in your family? Just don’t be discouraged, I think you can deal with your situation. Explain everything to your parents. You will still have the opportunity to find friends, just first figure out your state of health. You can ask the Lord for help) God created you a wonderful person, He loves you very much and will never leave you) Ask Him for help more often and you will feel better) He can change everything for the better, at least try to turn to Him) I wish you more patience and strength, good family relationships, academic success, good health, always good mood, happiness, more love, joy and peace in life and all the best! Hold on, God will help you! Guardian Angel! nine0003
Anastasia, age: 02/19/2018