Most people occasionally have difficulty concentrating once in a while. It can happen when you are tired or under emotional stress. Hormonal changes, such as those experienced during menopause or pregnancy, can also affect how we think and concentrate.

You might go to the next room and not remember why, repeatedly lose your wallet or keys, lose track of a conversation, take a wrong turn while driving to familiar location, pick up a book and not remember the part you read before, or have trouble staying on task and completing an assignment.

When concentration problems occur more often and affect your quality of life, they can be a symptom of certain physical and psychological conditions. Rare conditions that affect the brain and some emotional problems, as well as endocrinologic disturbances, can also influence an individual’s cognitive functions and impair concentration.

Poor concentration can be related to difficulty staying awake, impulsiveness, intrusive thoughts or concerns, overactivity, or inattention. It can be caused by medical, cognitive, or psychological problems or may be related to sleep disorders or medications, alcohol, or drugs. Concentration difficulties may be long-term, established conditions, as in the case of ADHD, or they may arise as a result of illness or another event.