Poor concentration can be caused by several things, including stress and fatigue. Problems concentrating may also stem from a hormone imbalance, such as the low estrogen levels that occur during menopause. Some substance abuse problems and mental disorders, like Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), may also contribute to concentration problems. In a few extreme cases, poor concentration may also be caused by a brain or spinal cord injury.
One of the most common causes of deficient concentration is stress. When a person is dealing with stress, even everyday stress, his brain produces a stress hormone called cortisol. Constant stress can lead to high levels of this hormone in the blood, which can result in an inability to concentrate.
Fatigue is another one of the most common causes of poor concentration. The human body needs a period of rest to function properly, so healthy humans sleep for several hours each night. If a person does not get enough quality rest, his brain may not function to its fullest potential, which can lead to difficulty concentrating.
Some people, especially women, may be able to attribute an inability to concentrate to hormone imbalances. Estrogen, for instance, has been shown to have an effect on the production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain necessary for cognitive functions, like concentrating. Low levels of estrogen can result in low levels of these neurotransmitters. Women who are going through menopause typically have low estrogen levels, and therefore, they may often find that they have trouble concentrating.
Studies have also shown that substance abuse can have an impact on a person's ability to concentrate. This condition is a common problem for many people who regularly use or abuse drugs and alcohol. Some prescription medications, like anti-depressants, can also cause concentration problems.
Several mental disorders have also been known to cause deficient concentration. Individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), for instance, will often have problems concentrating. This disorder typically becomes apparent when an ADD sufferer begins to have problems in school. Problems concentrating may also be caused by other mental disorders, including depression and anxiety.
Although many causes of poor concentration are typically minor, some can be dangerous or even life threatening. Damage to a part of the brain or spinal cord can cause a person to have problems concentrating, for instance. Strokes, seizures, or tumors can all result in brain damage, which can cause concentration problems, along with many other symptoms.