Can't Focus? How To Tell When It's Time To Try ADHD Medication

Learn more about the causes of your inability to focus and how to treat them.

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If you cannot focus and constantly feel frazzled, you might be wondering whether you have undiagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and need medication. However, before you even think about drugs, you should check whether you have ADHD. Stress, lack of sleep, anxiety, or depression can all cause problems with concentration, and all these things require specific treatments.

Causes of Your Inability to Focus

To figure out what caused your symptoms, think about when your issues started. If your symptoms only began recently, they are more likely due to increased stress or a lack of sleep. However, you may have depression or an anxiety disorder if you have had difficulty focusing, feel sad or hopeless, have headaches, or have trouble making decisions for one month or more.

Meanwhile, ADHD and therefore ADHD symptoms usually begin in childhood. However, symptoms look different in adults. Adult women also experience ADHD differently and have slightly different symptoms.

Consider whether you have had a lifelong inability to focus, poor impulse control, restlessness, chronic disorganization, and unstable relationships. Other common symptoms include difficulty focusing on certain tasks, sitting still, and not completing work by the deadline because of an inability to manage your time.

Finally, people with ADHD tend to have angry outbursts, find it difficult to wait in line, or feel overwhelmed during minimally stressful situations. Make sure to note if these symptoms sound familiar to you.

Treatment Options

After noting down your mood symptoms and when they started, speak to a mental health professional. They may be able to identify what is causing your inability to focus and recommend appropriate treatments.

If you are diagnosed with ADHD, a psychiatrist may recommend stimulants along with targeted talk therapy. However, it isn't a decision to take lightly. Medications used to treat ADHD can have side effects such as insomnia or irritability.

Additionally, it may take some trial and error to come up with the right medication and dosage that helps without causing new problems. Even with drugs, most adults with ADHD still need targeted talk therapy to help them learn to manage time, prioritize tasks, and get organized.

If you still cannot figure out why you have difficulty focusing, you can also try some lifestyle or work organization changes. For example, try scheduling breaks into your work schedule and think of big projects as several small tasks. This might help you finish your work and live your life.

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