Can depression cause lack of concentration?

Can depression cause lack of concentration?
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Let’s be honest, focusing on subjects such as school or work for long periods can, at times, be challenging to endure. It is relatively common for individuals to begin getting distracted or forget what they were doing altogether. Having trouble concentrating can be caused by common issues such as lack of sleep; however, if persistent, it can be a sign of anxiety or depression.

What is depression?

Depression is a fairly common yet severe mental health disorder that will affect how an individual feels, thinks, and acts. It can make an individual experience intense feelings of disinterest and sadness, physical and emotional challenges, and decreased overall functioning at home and work. Mental health disorders account for several of the top causes of disability in established market economies, such as the U.S., worldwide, and include: 

  • Major depression (also called clinical depression)
  • Manic depression (also called bipolar disorder)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Relationship between depression and loss of concentration

Loss of concentration is a sign of depression; it can quickly become a part of a rather negative cycle in which the loss of concentration evolves the severity of the depression. 

Other common symptoms often associated with depression are feelings of hopelessness or complete loss of interest in activities you once loved. Depression severely interferes with concentration, making it harder and harder until you no longer see the point in trying. This leads to a downwards spiral; once an individual reaches this stage, it can be hard to escape this loop without some intervention. 

Additionally, depression is also linked to anxiety. This results in individuals feeling guilty as they believe they aren’t getting enough work done due to their loss of concentration which results in them feeling anxious, which furthermore makes it harder to concentrate—a continuous negative loop that will not stop spiraling without professional intervention.

How to manage difficulty concentrating 

Allowing your body to get the rest it deserves and needs is the first step to helping yourself. Allowing the body the time to repair itself by sleeping for a minimum of seven hours a night can help prevent individuals from getting distracted. If you are having trouble sleeping, here are some tips that may help:

  • Stop using screens at least 30 minutes before you want to sleep; this includes your phone, laptop, tablet, and tv. 
  • Try to create a consistent pattern for when you want to go to sleep and wake back up. If you make a pattern, your mind and body will recognize the way and learn when to start shutting down and preparing for sleep
  • Do not drink alcohol or any caffeine, and try to avoid eating a meal or any snack before you want to go to sleep. 
  • Ensure that the environment you sleep in is comfortable for you and that you can feel complete easy

Factors that can affect concentration

An individual’s ability to concentrate can be affected by factors such as lifestyle, chronic conditions, or medication. Common factors that have been documented to affect an individual’s concentration can include but are not limited to:

  • Alcohol 
  • Dementia
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of sleep
  • Concussion
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Hunger
  • Stress
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome 
  • ADHD

When to seek professional intervention

Individuals must understand when their lack of concentration begins to disrupt their lives. Nobody needs to deal with anxiety or depression on their own. We would always advise that you receive medical intervention when the mental health disorder begins to keep you from

  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Completing daily errands
  • Socialising 
  • Concentrating during a conversion

If the symptoms last longer than three months, this would be an excellent time to start thinking about receiving help and getting an assessment to begin treatment. 

Our final thought

There is an array of reasons why an individual may be experiencing problems with concentration; however, the first step is to figure out the root cause. 

We all have days where we can’t seem to get anything done, nothing goes out the way, and we cant figure out why. However, you must remember that we are only human, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up now and again.

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