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Easily distracted/short attention span?

  1. Apr 3, 2011 #1
    I have an extremely short attention span and get distracted very easily. I have trouble studying unless there is some background noise. I often study in front of the TV because studying alone quietly is almost torture for me. Also I am quite ashamed of this fact but, I have never finished reading a book in my entire life. I either get distracted and/or bored and just stop or skim through it. Even with the books that are assigned in school, I just read the summary from internet. It amazes me how some people can read so much.
    My interests also change rapidly. For example, I was really interested in History, so then I would pay attention in class but in other classes, I can't concentrate at all. Nowadays, I am obsessed with Physics, and have finished the curriculum in advance while, the class is way behind. But I can't even bother to do homework in other subjects. The homework takes me extremely long because my mind constantly wanders off and I get distracted by thinking about Physics all the time. I feel like a freak. Does anyone else experience this?

    Also, during presentations I am very scatterbrained and unorganized in my thoughts. I'll quickly mention something and move on to a different thought without bothering to explaining the previous one! My teachers get frustrated and people think I am stupid because I seem very unorganized/inarticulate..
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 3, 2011 #2
    Look, your OK.
    If you can, make an appointment with a doctor, as these types of issues you just described ARE correctable/manageable under the proper care, and all will be good.
    But YOU must take that step.

    Good luck my friend.
  4. Apr 3, 2011 #3
    I often think I might have ADHD. Do you think this is likely?
  5. Apr 3, 2011 #4


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    Oh, how I know what it fe
  6. Apr 3, 2011 #5

    LOl, what?
  7. Apr 3, 2011 #6


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    A shiny red ball bounced by as he was posting :wink:.
  8. Apr 3, 2011 #7
    One thing is for sure. You won't get changed miraculously by reading out few of your suggestions. And this post is no exception. It seems that you know what you should be doing but you are too carefree to do it. You need to build will power .
  9. Apr 3, 2011 #8

    Ben Niehoff

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    First, unplug the TV and cancel your cable subscription. TV actually trains your mind to have a worthless attention span, by constantly showing you little snippets and cutting to 30-second commercials.

    Second, sit down quietly and read a book. Find one you think will be interesting, not too dauntingly long at first. Set yourself a timer, and force yourself to read for 1 hour a day. Then increase it to 2 hours, etc. You want to train yourself to have a longer attention span. Eventually, you should be able to effortlessly read anything on a topic that is actually interesting to you for any desired amount of time.

    Third, try to do some creative things that take time and concentration. This could be painting, model building, writing, whatever. Whatever it is, just pick one and try to stick with it for a while. Avoid using the computer; the internet is just as distracting as TV. Like before, set a timer and make yourself work on something, in silence, for an hour at a time.

    If you're having trouble concentrating on homework, same method: eliminate all distractions and learn how to focus. You're not crazy or unusual, but you need to learn discipline.
  10. Apr 4, 2011 #9


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    The problem Ben, is that the more you try, the harder it is and the more distracted you get. I've dealt with this myself. I had to start taking Prozac because i was so frustrated with myself that I couldn't do anything I wanted to do. No matter what I tried to do, I could not focus on it long enough to get any better. Drawing, playing an instrument, writing, nothing. In the end I simply could not do it.
  11. Apr 4, 2011 #10
    My understanding of PF guidlines is that it is not appropriate to offer medical advice or interpretation, but IS appropriate to suggest medical intervention.
    That is, instead of saying "I think you need this and that drug or whatever" It is more appropriate to say something like "I think you should go to a doctor"

    Best wishes...
  12. Apr 4, 2011 #11


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    Do you use an outline? If not, I highly recommend doing so. Make an outline (with notes) and stick to it. It will make giving a coherent, logical presentation much easier! It is very difficult to wing-it when you're standing in front of an audience. You should also practice your presentation at least once before giving it.
  13. Apr 4, 2011 #12


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    I don't know this as I'm not a doctor. But I suggest you see a doctor and tell him about your problems! If you do happen to have ADHD (which is quite possible!), then the doctor will subscribe you proper medication. These things really help!
  14. Apr 5, 2011 #13
    A lot of times when I'm reading a book, I'll be reading, then start thinking about something else while staring at the book. I'll realize I stopped reading and then continue, but I don't know how long I was just sitting there thinking. It's probably only a minute at most, but that really makes it hard for me to read books.
    Sometimes I'll be reading and my mind will be elsewhere while I'm reading. I read the words, but I don't comprehend them, so I have to read it again. I get into a reading autopilot which does no good for learning.
  15. Apr 5, 2011 #14
    You're just lazy. Work harder.
  16. Apr 5, 2011 #15


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    Are you serious or are you just trolling? Do you honestly think that everybody with mental issues is lazy??
  17. Apr 5, 2011 #16
    Its not a "mental issue." It's also not laziness. It's probably a very treatable condition. You sound like you have it pretty bad. I had a mild touch of it myself.

    Once when I got a flu virus I took some Sudafed. I was "corrected" for about a day. If you've ever had brief periods where you're fine, it's likely treatable.

    Go see a doctor. They can probably help you out.

    This isn't medical advice but it's serious.
  18. Apr 5, 2011 #17
    Do you think everybody who is lazy has mental issues?

    I would be very wary of medicating yourself to achieve a certain behavior.
  19. Apr 5, 2011 #18


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    Truth is, we don't know. We can't diagnose the OP. That's why the advice to him/her is, go see a doc. A proper diagnosis is needed.
  20. Apr 10, 2011 #19
    Yes. I should probably see a doctor. But how do they find out if you have ADHD or not? I assume it's simply based on symptoms and what you tell them, thus I feel it can never be very accurate..
  21. Apr 10, 2011 #20
    You are 100% correct.
    Mental disorders are NOT verified by, say, a blood test. It's totally subjective; your answers to AMA authurorized standardized questions.
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