Problems with attention?

Most of us will struggle to concentrate, get started on a project, feel bored or won’t feel organized at some point in our life. Many of us will find it hard to focus after a long day or if there are noisy distractions. Attention and concentration will be worse when we don’t sleep and are symptoms of most psychiatric diagnoses.

So then what is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a diagnosis made if there is a chronic history of problems with attention, executive function and, possibly, hyperactivity causing impaired functioning in multiple areas of someone’s life. Some individuals will be hyperactive and have a hard time staying seated for a meeting or not squirming through dinner. Others can stay seated but their mind wanders, keeping them from learning in class, starting home work, or listening to someone talk.

ADHD can cause a lot of suffering for the individual and also the family. Parents are often frustrated that their kid won’t listen to what they say and feel blamed or at fault when kids continue to struggle in school or with behavioral problems. Children and adults with ADHD often feel “stupid” and feel like they can’t measure up to their peers. Their parents are angry that they get poor grades. Friends might reject them because they’re always interrupting. Colleagues and bosses will give feedback that projects aren’t being handled correctly, they’re making frequent mistakes, late with deadlines or to work. All of this can lead to low self-esteem, substance use, behavioral problems and other issues.

How to improve concentration:

To support good attention and concentration, we recommend exercising in the morning, taking breaks while studying or working, getting outside for lunch, using planners, reminders, and organizers, and also having realistic goals for yourself. If you’re finding that problems are getting in the way of work, school and functioning, let’s schedule some time to talk.


Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)

National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI)

Vanderbilt Form - Parent

Vanderbilt Form - Teacher