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Problem with Cognitive Functioning

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Hi there, I hope that you’re having a wonderful day. I’ll try to be as brief as possible with my problem. I don’t know if it’s depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism or merely the fact that I could have a low IQ maybe?

When I was a kid up until middle school, my grades soared as I always used to be the highest grader in my class, but afterward by grades unexpectedly went down. Maybe the situation in my home had a negative impact on me. My parents used to fight a lot. Whenever this happened, I used to go to my room & completely shut myself down.

The problems I’m currently facing:

1.) When I’m talking to someone, I forget what I was saying mid-sentence. It’s like my brain shuts down. Similarly, when the other person is trying to make a conversation with me, it feels like everything is going over my head.

2.) When I read something, I have to read it multiple times or more to be able to fully grasp the concept.

3.) I feel like I process information slowly compared to others—I’m slow.

4.) I’m usually lost in my own thoughts and overthink a lot over everything.

5.) Sometimes my mind is just blank.

6.) I have low energy—I don’t have the mood to do anything.

I’m feeling severely sad because of all these symptoms. What could this possibly be a cause of?

Thank you for taking your time reading this, I’ll be waiting for your reply. (From India)

Problem with Cognitive Functioning

Answered by on -


I can appreciate how difficult it must be to not feel in control of your own mood, attention, emotions, thoughts, or memory. All of these things you have correctly postulated that they may be symptoms of depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism or low IQ. But they could also be symptoms of a physical issue. Of the ones you’ve listed the two primary possibilities for these symptoms are depression and ADHD.

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Disengaged, with a loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite (weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting)
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much.
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Anxiety-related physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
  • Loss of meaning or purpose, feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

You can take this assessment tool here at PsychCentral and learn more about depression here.

As far as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) here is a link to an overview with some more good information about ADD and ADHD. You can also take this quiz.

Yet, the easiest way to sort this all out is to begin the process by determining if it is physical or psychological in nature. For this, I am recommending a visit with a neurologist or neuro-psychologist. They will be able to do testing that can reveal how you can best manage the symptoms. Without this kind of medical and psychological testing, you will be guessing in the dark about what is going on.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Problem with Cognitive Functioning

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2020). Problem with Cognitive Functioning. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 2 Mar 2020 (Originally: 3 Mar 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 2 Mar 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.