Bipolar Depression Symptoms

Poor Concentration

What is poor concentration?

In poor concentration, it is difficult to maintain attention. It results in indecisiveness.

What is it like to experience poor concentration?

The person may feel confused and lost. They find it difficult to process multiple stimuli. This causes decision making to be a strenuous and difficult activity. The mind may feel 'clouded' or 'foggy'.

This slowness of mind is especially frustrating to a person who recently experienced bipolar mania. In mania, the mind frequently feels clear and sharp, allowing the person to make timely conclusions and decisions.

The shift from mania to depression is a dramatic one, leaving the person feeling slow, confused, and incapable. The person may miss their mental sharpness and creativity.

How can I recognize this symptom?

As information processing ability is reduced, the individual finds it increasingly difficult to finalize decisions. It takes longer for the person to answer questions.

Poor concentration may be a warning sign of an oncoming depressive episode.25

How does this bipolar disorder symptom impact life?

Poor concentration affects everything from leisure activities, to work, school, and relationships. The person may find it is difficult to play sports, read, watch television, play board games, study, or work. It may be impossible to stay on topic during conversation.

At times, poor concentration increases the risk for injury. For example, a driver who is unable to process road signs and danger information in a timely manner is at increased risk of having an accident.

Simple, everyday tasks become complex and stressful. For example, in grocery shopping, the person has difficulty reading the shopping list, finding products in the store, and is unable to decide which products to take home.

My Story

My first university exam. I stared at the numbers. They didn't make sense. I tried adding, subtracting, multiplying them. It should have been simple. Yet, I couldn't add 5 and 5. By the time I looked at the second number, I forgot what I was trying to do. I failed. I got better. Then I passed the course with flying colors.

~ Emma, Sydney, NSW