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Sluggish Cognitive Tempo

Sluggish Cognitive Tempo

Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) is a condition that has been associated with ADHD, without the hyperactivity. It however, exhibits different symptoms. Here, we try and understand all about this condition.
Puja Lalwani
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) has been defined by researchers as a developmental disorder that may affect individuals at a younger age, falling in the category Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - Predominantly Inattentive (ADHD-PI). Such individuals may be tagged as daydreamers, inattentive, confused, and blank in most cases. It has been found that the cause of this condition is primarily hereditary in nature. However, research has shown that SCT emerges from problems with the prefrontal cortex of the brain, and problems with retrieving memory. Further, lack of production of dopamine and norepinephrine may also be responsible for this condition. Though not formally recognized by medical manuals such as the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), SCT is a condition that affects a lot of people. Here, we will talk about the symptoms of SCT, and the treatment methods that are adopted to treat it.
Symptoms
Surprisingly, the symptoms of those suffering from sluggish cognitive tempo are different from the symptoms of ADHD. The symptoms of SCT may be obvious in the early stages of life, for instance, when a child is ready to enter preschool. These symptoms have been explained here.
  • Lack of Focus:
    Children with SCT are likely to have issues with academics, due to their inability to focus for long periods on verbal information. They are likely to face trouble retrieving verbal information from their memory, though they may be better off with visual or spatial information.
  • Sluggish Demeanor:
    While those with ADHD are hyperactive and distracted, those with SCT are more sluggish (as the name suggests) and slow. They take longer to understand and process information, and are in what appears to be a dream-like state.
  • Lack of Motivation:
    Individuals with SCT seem to be lacking the motivation to perform basic tasks and activities, which is why they are found continually seeking those kinds of activities that will arouse them mentally. This behavior pattern is likely to be erratic, and they may also show highs and lows in their thought process and their daily activities. More often than not, however, those with SCT are passive individuals who lack the drive to perform different tasks, and may also suffer from mood swings.
  • Social Withdrawal and Depression:
    Those with SCT are also more prone to the development of depression and social dysfunction due to their introvert nature. They are socially withdrawn individuals who are perceived as aloof and disinterested by those around them.
  • Low Comprehension Abilities:
    Individuals suffering from SCT are also likely to have trouble with calculations, difficulty understanding abstract concepts and abstract reasoning, and with reading. Due to their behavior patterns, they are known to be disorganized and prone to losing their things easily.
  • Forgetfulness:
    Because of their inability to it those with SCT are likely to be very forgetful, irrespective of the importance of a particular item or event.
Other symptoms include the inability to follow instructions, dislike towards task that require continuous attention, easy distraction from the task at hand, and making mistakes often.
Treatment
While this condition is known to last all life, there are some methods by which psychiatrists have been able to improve, if not completely treat, the responses to stimuli of individuals suffering from it. This they do by administering medication that help enhance the production of norepinephrine and dopamine, thereby sustaining the belief that the sluggish cognitive tempo disorder may be the result of a lack of these. Apart from prescribing medication, psychiatrists also attempt to utilize cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, that are known to reduce the intensity of the condition. Finally, some experts believe that this is a condition that children will eventually outgrow. However, this is simply a belief that is not backed by any scientific proof.
Now, some psychologists and psychiatrists believe that this disorder is simply an excuse that has been given by people to cover up laziness. However, there are individuals who indicate these symptoms and suffer from this condition because of actual developmental disabilities. This condition can be diagnosed and treated only by a qualified psychiatrist. Further, such symptoms should not be ignored, and should be reported to a professional immediately to arrest the progress of this condition by administering appropriate treatment. This will help improve the overall quality of life of the affected individual.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for the advice of a mental health expert.