A common — but confusing — symptom of ADHD is called “hyperfocus,” or the ability to zero in intensely on an interesting project or activity for hours at a time.
It’s no secret that children and adults with ADHD often struggle to focus on tasks they find uninteresting. High distractibility — children with ADHD who are unable to stay focused on a classroom lecture or adults with ADHD who never get around to doing their paperwork — is a key ADHD symptom and diagnosis criterion.
By nature, I’m messy and disorganized — and my mind can be too. I have trouble sustaining attention on just about anything.
In school, this meant I didn’t do well in classes. In college, it meant that I largely blew them off and spent most of my time partying. (When you’re at a party, no one expects you to focus!). After college, I was diagnosed with ADHD.
An expert on attention deficit and learning disabilities talks about the biology behind ADHD and why it’s sometimes so difficult to diagnose and treat symptoms in children.
In my 40 years as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I have treated thousands of youngsters. With some children, I am able to make a quick evaluation about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and outline a course of ADHD treatment.
An interesting way of looking attention, if you have ADHD!
There’s attention and inattention. You’re paying attention or you’re not. You’re focused or you’re distracted. We often talk about attention like it’s a black-and-white, on-or-off thing. But in many ways, it’s more of a spectrum.