Difficulty concentrating can be upsetting and disorienting. In trying to fulfill the many responsibilities in your life, an inability to focus on complex or even simple tasks can be daunting. It often gets to a point where you are not only unable to complete work assignments, but simple tasks like grocery shopping can make you frantic and confused. All of the perplexity can cause an imbalance in your cognitive functioning and emotional stability. Many of the realities of this condition can even affect your happiness. Keep reading to explore how.
During menopause, difficulty concentrating is generally a result of fluctuating hormone levels. Estrogen in particular plays a central role in regulating mental processes, but it sharply declines during this transition. Soon there is a decrease in neurotransmitters in the brain that are essential for clear thinking, such as acetylcholine, dopamine, norepinephrine, and endorphins. It can also reduce blood flow to the brain.
Further, this condition can be a side effect of other menopausal symptoms such as sleep disorders, fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Lifestyle causes, such as nutritional deficiencies and drug use, can also play a large role.
The symptoms that occur as a result of this dip in brain chemicals can make it nearly impossible to engage in the things you love and provide a listening ear to the people you love. This is because you may often lose your train of thought, daydream, or forget what someone told you. The prolonged duration of mental fuzziness can make one feel isolated and worried that they are becoming senile or developing a memory disorder, such as Alzheimer's disease.
Difficulty concentrating can pull you away from the things you love most in life. Much of being happy is the ability to be in the moment and focus on your aspirations and relationships. When you are in a constant daze, opportunities for joy will start to pass you by.
This can make you feel extremely frustrated and like you are not in control of your life, leading to helplessness and lowered self-esteem. Many women end up having difficulty concentrating and depression feed into each other, each worsening the other symptom, which can be alienating and heartbreaking.
Unfortunately, it is true that difficulty concentrating can cause an individual to develop depression during menopause. All of the days and weeks of forgetfulness and not being able to focus on your personal and professional tasks can eat away at your ability to maintain a positive attitude. Although it can take a toll on your mental wellness, it is temporary, and there are many ways to manage this symptom.
- Chavez, C. et al. (2010). The effect of estrogen on dopamine and serotonin receptor and transporter levels in the brain: an autoradiography study. Brain research, 1321, 51-59. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2009.12.093
- Kansas State University. (1997). Improving your Concentration. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from http://www.k-state.edu/counseling/topics/career/concentr.html
- National Institute of Mental Health. (2012). What is Attention Deficit Disorder? Retrieved June 9, 2014, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/index.shtml?utm_source=REFERENCES_R7
- National Institute of Mental Health. (2011). What is Depression? Retrieved June 9, 2014, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml#pub1