Lack of concentration in children and adults
A study by the health insurance company DAK-Gesundheit reveals that poor concentration, lack of exercise and behavioral problems have increased significantly in elementary school students in the past ten years 1. Teachers see signs of hyperactivity in 12 to 18 percent of their male students 2. Not only children, but also adults increasingly suffer from poor concentration. This development is worrying.
If I can’t concentrate properly at work now and then, am I already sick? In this article you will learn when there is a lack of concentration that requires treatment, which factors play a role in the development and what you can do about it yourself.
What does poor concentration mean?
Concentration represents a person’s ability to focus his undivided attention on objects or other people. The ability to concentrate is not innate, but must be learned and consolidated in childhood.
If you suffer from a lack of concentration, you cannot concentrate on one particular thing for a long time. Those affected can quickly be distracted by external stimuli. Doctors distinguish between a concentration disorder and a weakness in concentration. difficulty concentrating occur only temporarily during lack of concentration persist for a long time or persist.
Concentration problems are not only manifested by phases of lack of concentration and easy distraction. In addition, restlessness, forgetfulness, sudden changes in mood and motivation or language problems (speaking too quickly, unfinished sentences) can occur. In older people, this often leads to a withdrawal from everyday life.
When do doctors speak of a lack of concentration? I already suffer from it if I can only concentrate properly for an hour?
In medicine, the time span for a normal ability to concentrate is not clearly defined. Especially in children, the expression weakness of concentration quickly becomes apparent when they can be distracted by external stimuli.
In general, if you let your mind wander now and then and you just can’t concentrate properly on some days, you are far from sick. However, if the lack of concentration has a strong impact on work, school or family life, a doctor should take a closer look at the problem.
Causes of a lack of concentration
If there is only a short-term concentration disorder, there is usually no serious illness behind it. Often, too much in our everyday lives is responsible for this. One of the main causes stress, overtaxing, lack of sleep or larger amounts of stimulants like alcohol, coffee and nicotine.
A wrong diet, to little movement, on Lack of vitamins and minerals, a allergy or the Side effects of certain medications can also cause a decrease in the ability to concentrate.
In some cases, weaknesses in concentration are associated with other diseases. Above all, these include mental and neurological diseases such as depressions, Burnout or dementia (Alzheimer). In addition, a Hypothyroidism or a low blood pressure (hypotension) Cause concentration problems.
Lack of concentration in children
If a child shows inattentiveness and fidgety, hyperactivity does not necessarily have to be present. It is often just particularly lively and can easily be distracted by environmental stimuli. Many forget that children and adolescents are not small adults. They are still in the middle of their physical and mental development.
The amount of time a child can fully concentrate on one thing depends very much on age. While the attention span for a primary school pupil is a maximum of 15 minutes, a teenager can manage about half an hour. In a healthy adult, the ability to concentrate only noticeably decreases after an hour.
In recent years, the diagnosis has become increasingly common in children and in some cases also in adults Attention deficit disorder 3 (ADS) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder 4 (ADHD) posed.
While ADS children are more withdrawn and dreamy than Hans looks up going through life, sufferers with ADHD mostly fall as Zappelphilipp on. Lack of concentration, unable to sit still and a general imbalance are typical signs of hyperactivity.
Why are more and more children suffering from ADHD worldwide??
The main reason is that the observed symptoms are assessed subjectively by medical professionals. The diagnosis is therefore not clear, but is subject to a more or less arbitrary determination.
Smaller abnormalities in children are now more quickly associated with ADHD by doctors, teachers and parents than a few years ago. A scientific study clarifies the problem: More than 20 percent of all ADHD diagnoses are misdiagnosed 5 .
Causes of poor concentration in children?
The most important triggers of concentration problems in children and adolescents include overstimulation due to long periods watch TV and too many computer Games at the same time lack of sleep. A permanent lack of concentration can also be a sign of dyslexia or be ADHD.
Naturopaths and naturopaths have long pointed out the importance of a healthy diet. They recommend their patients to largely avoid fast food, soft drinks and other processed foods. Recent scientific studies from the USA confirm a connection between poor concentration and nutrition 6 .
A 2007 study published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet published, came to the following conclusion: Artificial dyes and preservative in food lead to hyperactivity in children 7. Regular drinking of sugary lemonades (soft drinks, Energy drinks) promotes the development of ADHD 8. Everyone can easily recognize the artificial additives in food and beverages from the E numbers 9 on the packaging or label.
Diagnosis and treatment of poor concentration
If there is a suspicion of a lack of concentration, family doctors, pediatricians, psychiatrists or psychologists can diagnose the underlying disease. In the foreground is first the personal conversation to illuminate the life situation of the person concerned. Additional discussions with parents and teachers are helpful for children.
The exact diagnosis is carried out using standardized test procedures. For schoolchildren, the are particularly suitable Concentration test for third and fourth grades (KT 3-4) and the Test series to test the ability to concentrate (TPK). Further examinations (blood count, measurement of the electrical brain waves) can be considered in order to clarify the presence of organic causes or neurological diseases.
ADS or ADHD is diagnosed according to internationally established criteria. Several symptoms in the areas of attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity must have existed for a long time and be clearly pronounced 10 .
Many children diagnosed with ADHD hastily receive narcotics (psychotropic) to keep them still. The best known drug carries the brand name Ritalin. The treatment is considered to be very problematic by naturopaths, as some of these remedies have dangerous side effects and any long-term consequences have not yet been researched.
For this reason, it is advisable not to use strong psychiatric drugs right from the start. You should only think about taking it if the following tips and tips are unsuccessful.
An experienced therapist always provides for patients with memory problems Lifestyle adjustment. Important points include the correct handling of stressful situations, relaxation techniques (autogenic training, yoga), a balanced diet and reduced TV viewing.
Naturopathy knows a few active ingredients that are able to improve concentration and performance. Next homeopathic globules 11 come mainly herbal medicines like ginkgo (Tebonin), valerian or ginseng for use.
Norwegian researchers found a promising treatment approach through experiments with specially bred rats. Among other things, the young animals develop abnormalities such as impulsivity, hyperactivity and poor memory. The scientists were able to show that Omega-3 fatty acids are able to reduce these symptoms 12 .
The study shows in detail that omega-3 fatty acids increase brain activity. This is done by reducing the turnover of messenger substances, the so-called neurotransmitters (Serotonin, dopamine), reinforce.
Although animal testing is not necessarily transferable to humans, a trial with omega-3 fatty acids is worthwhile for patients with memory problems and ADHD 13. If these are not adequately fed through the diet, a dietary supplement such as Krill Omega 3 Arctic Pure from BodyFokus can be used.
What can I do even with poor concentration??
The following tips have proven particularly useful:
- Sleep enough
- Always take short breaks during concentrated work
- Switch off more often, relax and treat yourself to something
- Take regular walks in the fresh air and refuel with oxygen
- Drink two liters of water or unsweetened tea every day
- Instead of eating sweets in between an apple or a banana
- Exercise at least once a week
These instructions are an ideal prerequisite for strong nerves and good concentration. On the subject of luxury foods and poor nutrition, the following applies: less is more.
One or two cups of coffee in the morning will wake you up. However, if you drink coffee after coffee all day in the office, you will achieve exactly the opposite and put an additional strain on your stomach and heart. Ideally, people with poor concentration largely avoid consuming fast food, soft drinks, other industrial foods, white sugar, alcohol and cigarettes.
Exercises for old and young ensure that the focus is sharpened 14. Depending on your age, different concentration games are suitable. Just play a round every day Memory and give your memory a boost!
So-called cross exercises improve the interaction between the left and right brain. A simple exercise goes like this:
Stand upright, raise your left knee and touch it with your right elbow. At the same time, the left arm swings backwards. Then it’s the other side’s turn. Repeat the exercise several times in a row.
Some concentration disorders arise quickly and can generally be easily remedied if the short-term causes are eliminated.
If there is a serious or even chronic lack of concentration, lifestyle changes and adjustments to diet and the immediate environment, especially in children, can bring about improvements. A meeting with a doctor, naturopath or even psychotherapist is usually helpful in this case.
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