ADHD doesn’t always mean ‘short attention span’. ‘Hyperfocusing’ on a task for hours on end is also a known symptom of ADHD, where the inability to stop is considered to be the problem.

Hyperfocus: The ADHD Phenomenon of Intense Fixation

What is ADHD Hyperfocus?

Hyperfocus refers to an intense fixation on an interest or activity for an extended period of time. People who experience hyperfocus often become so engrossed they block out the world around them. Children and adults with ADHD often exhibit hyperfocus when working intently on things that interest them.

Hyperfocus: How Does It Affect Children and Adults with ADHD?

For children, the object of hyperfocus might be playing a video game or watching TV. Adults might hyperfocus on social media or shopping. But whatever holds the attention, the result is the same: Unless something or someone interrupts, hours drift by as important tasks and relationships fall by the wayside.

“People who think ADHD means havin… Continue Reading (7 minute read)

9 thoughts on “ADHD doesn’t always mean ‘short attention span’. ‘Hyperfocusing’ on a task for hours on end is also a known symptom of ADHD, where the inability to stop is considered to be the problem.”

  1. DrWildTurkey

    Yeah, I’ve blown a lot of days where I could have gotten laundry done, cleaned the house, or been otherwise more productive on real things because my pet project for the day wasn’t perfect.

    Imagine discovering you suddenly have a new hobby for the day, and you can’t let up on it until you feel like you’ve made some discernible progress. *BUT* tommorow that new hobby you’ve gotten yourself into suddenly becomes an ongoing obligation and isn’t nearly as interesting as the next thing you’ve moved onto.

  2. ZevVeli

    This is actually part of the reason why there is a push to rename it from ADHD (Attention Defificit Hyperactive Disorder) to EDD (Executive Disfunction Disorder).

  3. hootiesapperticker

    My child’s therapist once said that people with ADHD spend their lives being punished for the scattered moments when they are able to focus. For someone who’s neurotypical, it’s easy to see an instance of hyperfocus and assume that the person can do that all the time if they want to, and then mislabel the person’s inability to do so in other moments as laziness or lack of consideration. It’s doubly hard on the person with ADHD to have to shoulder not only the burden of compensating for their neurodivergence but also the judgement of those around them (not to mention their own self-judgement for having to work so hard to do things that seem natural to others).

  4. PandaPanzer

    The biggest symptom I experience from ADHD is the absolute inability to keep a thought in the forefront of my head. Something like “gotta change remote batteries” gets forgotten as soon as I stand up

  5. visor97

    As someone with ADHD, I feel like people really ignore the chronic exhaustion that comes with it. I am always way more exhausted than most of the people I know, and I think there’s lots of people with ADHD that don’t get diagnosed because that chronic fatigue thats visible to others can mask the internal restlessness, and could even lead somebody to think they have a different condition, and treat that instead.

  6. 7788445511220011

    Part of the problem is the inability to choose which tasks one can focus on, no?

    It’s a problem when one can’t find the willpower to do productive things they want to do, and can’t stop whatever interests it is they are driven towards.

  7. jibsymalone

    And this is exactly why I wasn’t diagnosed until my 40’s…. Hyperfocus was a positive in my line of work at times, but that is of course offset by some of the other symptoms at times

  8. cabinetsnotnow

    I have ADHD and I hyperfocus on certain tasks, especially at work. The problem is that I work in customer service so while I’m trying to remain focused on 5 different tasks, I’ll get randomly interrupted by customers and it irritates the hell out of me.

    I’ve been trying to work on my improving reaction to these interruptions but it’s so hard.

  9. nowhereman136

    I can focus on a task for hours

    And then suddenly stop caring. A lot of stuff gets half done or I close doors on stuff because I know if I try again i will still eventually give up and waste that time.

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