Reply To: Unable To Concentrate

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Hello, you mention that you’ve always had problems with concentrating. Have you ever been assessed for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)?  One of the main symptoms is difficulty focusing. However, there are other possible biological reasons for this. Some of the common ones are anaemia (iron deficiency), vitamins B and D deficiency, or thyroid imbalance. A simple blood test can check for these potential problems. You also mention that you are losing interest in activities that you used to enjoy before. This could be a symptom of depression, which also causes difficulty in concentrating. Engineering students sometimes don’t have a healthy work/life balance due to the sheer amount of studies. Do you work out  regularly, at least 30 minutes a day of cardiovascular exercise? Do you get at least 7 hours of sleep a day and have a diet with reduced sugar intake? These are practical healthy habits that can improve your ability to concentrate. Also, try to “chunk” your tasks into manageable time chunks. So rather than sitting down to read a whole chapter, tell yourself you will read 4 pages for example, and take notes while you read. The act of reading and writing at the same time may help your brain stay alert. After 4 pages, do something else for a few minutes (preferably something physical such as a short walk), then come back to the next “chunk” of time-limited reading.

Leaving this untreated will obviously have a negative impact on your studies, but also on your mental and emotional health. I recommend that you start with a blood test to rule out vitamin or thyroid deficiencies, start adopting healthy habits, chunk your tasks, and then if needed consult a psychiatrist for an ADD evaluation. Medication to correct chemical imbalances in the brain can help resolve focusing difficulties, but should only be prescribed by a psychiatrist.