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Disturbances of attention

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Attention is impaired in various psychological and psychiatric conditions, so the suffer is unable to control the focus of their attention. Sometimes this is interpreted as defensive, due to psychological mechanisms or it is seen as the outcome of physiological disturbance.


  • Distractibility: inability to focus attention; attention drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli
  • Selective inattention: blocking out only those things that generate anxiety
  • Hypervigilance : excessive attention and focus on both internal and external stimuli, a characteristic in PTSD and sometimes a feature of delusional or paranoid states
  • Trance: focused attention and altered consciousness, usually seen in hypnosis, dissociative disorders, and ecstatic religious experiences.
  • Rumination: concentration and focus on aspects of experiance and unable to easily switch out.

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