Anatomy & Organs

Concentration – function, task and diseases


In order to be able to cope with everyday tasks, it is important to be able to develop concentration . The focus is placed on the task to be accomplished and disruptive factors are suppressed. With a lack of concentration , this focus is not possible, which leads to distraction from what was originally planned.

What is concentration?

The term concentration comes from psychology and describes in the broadest sense the directing of attention to a specific action, activity or goal. This guidance is achieved by focusing on what is to be achieved.

In this context, focus means the sole attention to an activity to be performed over a certain period of time. Disturbing noises, people or movements are masked out to a certain extent in order to be able to carry out the action conscientiously.

The word concentration comes from the Latin concentra, which means “together to the center”. The term focuses on the goal of the activity.

Concentration wanes over time, increasing the error rate of directed action. It requires mental exertion and, if maintained for a long time, leads to symptoms of fatigue.

Concentration can be measured using a variety of brain teasers and stress tests. A lack of concentration leads to delays in the execution of actions and tasks in many people and can be stressful in the long run.

Concentration is influenced by emotional factors, physical condition and environmental conditions. But diet can also affect concentration. The factors are interrelated. Concentration is therefore not constant, but fluctuates depending on the physical and mental condition and the shape of the day.

Function & task

Concentration is essential for carrying out a wide variety of tasks or activities. If the person is not able to concentrate, it can become dangerous depending on the situation.

A good example is driving a car. It is a process and a course of action that is quickly becoming automated. It runs automatically because the necessary processes are internalized through regular driving. As a result, it happens more often than average that concentration decreases when driving, as it is not actively needed in many situations. Reflexes play out of habit and people act without having to think about it. However, if sudden, unfamiliar situations arise on the road, it is important to concentrate on your own actions in order to be able to react accordingly.

An increased attention span also increases performance. Concentration is important at school and at work in order to be able to grasp difficult facts. If people are distracted, content can only be stored and retained with difficulty or not at all.

The processing of everyday information therefore always requires a certain amount of concentration. This applies in particular to subject areas that lie outside of the usual activities. This means that attention and concentration are primarily among the protective mechanisms, but are also jointly responsible for the ability to learn.

For example, a high intelligence quotient and talent in children are not enough to get a good school diploma. In addition to motivation, concentrating on the tasks set is an important pillar of learning.

The concentration is promoted by omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B. Sport, short daytime sleep phases as well as meditation or other concentration exercises also have a positive effect.

Diseases & Ailments

Disturbances of concentration are mainly the description of a symptom. A lack of concentration is not a disease in itself, but in most cases a side effect of other illnesses or complaints. The lack of concentration refers to the inability to focus on an activity to be performed over a certain period of time. Those affected are unable to shield themselves from other stimuli.

The causes can be varied. A lack of concentration is often only a short-lived phenomenon, which is caused, for example, by a lack of sleep. But stress factors or being distracted by external conditions can also impair concentration.

In many cases, overloading also leads to a loss of concentration. Humans are only able to absorb new things for a certain amount of time. He then needs a rest phase to process what he has recorded. If the capacity and amount of it is used up, the concentration dwindles. Inattention and tiredness are often the result.

Other causes can be a lack of exercise, insufficient oxygen supply or malnutrition. Depending on the intensity, allergies can also have a corresponding effect. The use of legal or illegal drugs often reduces the ability to concentrate. Poor concentration can also occur due to side effects of medication or chemotherapy .

Another possibility is mental illnesses such as burnout syndrome or depression . In addition, there are a number of physical illnesses that are also associated with impaired concentration. These include anorexia , which in turn interacts with malnutrition, and hyperthyroidism . This can, for example, lead to a rapid degradation of various substances that are needed for the concentration.

Poor blood flow to the brain can be a trigger in older people . But Alzheimer’s and dementia also bring concentration disorders as a side effect. During the menopause , hormonal reasons can lead to a loss of attention in women. In children, on the other hand, the cause can also be ADHD or dyslexia .

A doctor will work with blood, hearing and vision tests in particular when making the diagnosis. But an EEG can also be used.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.