What Are the Symptoms of Sluggish Cognitive Tempo?

Sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) is a condition that shares many traits with the attention-deficit subtype of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. An individual with SCT will struggle to pay attention and focus, but they have a lower likelihood of impulsive behavior and hyperactivity than individuals with the hyperactive subtype of ADHD. Sluggish cognitive tempo was originally identified in the middle of the 1980s, but researchers are still working on a concrete definition and understanding of what causes it. Some groups of researchers refer to SCT as concentration deficit disorder. The symptoms can present in a number of different ways, but they commonly center around difficulty focusing, an inability to pay attention, and a mental disconnect from the world.

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Not Able To Process Information Quickly

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Sluggish cognitive tempo patients are often not able to process information quickly. A neurotypical individual can usually take in information said to them or written down. They then process and respond to it in a matter of seconds, or sometimes even less than seconds. By contrast, someone with SCT needs to take longer to process information. They may need to have instructions repeated or reread information multiple times. Sometimes the information won't sink in after multiple readings, and the person may need to break it down piece by piece to understand it. This happens especially with large blocks of text and very detailed audio instructions. There's a struggle to encode the information to memory and understand it.

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Katherine MacAulay
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