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  1. #1
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    ADHD and hyperfocus

    ADHD and hyperfocus: What is it, and how can I manage it?
    By Amanda Barrell, Medical News Today
    July 8, 2019

    People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may experience hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattentiveness. However, a less common symptom is hyperfocus. This is a state of fixation on something that interests a person.Medical professionals describe hyperfocus as unable to shift the attention from events or activities that truly interest a person.

    ADHD is the most common neurodevelopmental condition in children. However, the symptoms are often difficult to discern until the child reaches school age.

    Hyperfocus in ADHD
    ADHD most often manifests as hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattentiveness. However, some people with the condition may experience hyperfocus.

    Characterized by very long periods of highly focused attention on something that meets a person's interests, hyperfocus is a symptom of ADHD that many people view as opposite in nature to the main ones.

    In states of hyperfocus, a person may find themselves fully engrossed in work, hobbies, or other activities.

    Somebody going through an episode of hyperfocus can sometimes lose interest without any explanation.

    It is important to point out that the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) does not list hyperfocus among its diagnostic criteria for ADHD.

    Tips to manage hyperfocus
    The following tips may help make hyperfocus more manageable for children:

    • Introduce a schedule for activities that tend to result in hyperfocus. This may involve limiting the time they spend watching television or playing video games.
    • Try to make the child aware that hyperfocus is a symptom of their condition. This can help them understand that they need to address it.
    • Try using definitive time points, such as the end of a movie, as a signal that the child needs to refocus their attention. This can prevent them becoming engrossed for too long.
    • Promote activities that remove them from isolation and that promote being social.

    The following tips may help in adults:

    • Set timers and reminders to help complete all essential tasks, activities, or chores.
    • Set priorities and achieve them step by step. This prevents focusing on one activity for too long.
    • Don't be afraid to ask people in the vicinity to turn off televisions or other distractions if it becomes apparent that hyperfocus is starting to set in.
    • Also, try asking people to call or email at specific times. This can help break up intense periods of focus.

    Taking medications to treat the overall condition may also help relieve hyperfocus, as well as other symptoms.

    Other ADHD symptoms
    The symptoms of ADHD tend to start in childhood and can continue through a person's teenage and adult years. Common symptoms include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

    They typically manifest as:

    • feeling restless or fidgety
    • talking a lot and interrupting people
    • being easily distracted
    • finding it hard to concentrate
    • saying or doing things without thinking

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a person may have ADHD if they:

    • overlook or miss details and make careless mistakes
    • have problems paying attention while listening, having conversations, or reading
    • find it hard to listen when spoken to
    • are unable to follow instructions
    • lose focus or get sidetracked easily
    • have problems organizing tasks and activities

    Some children may have reduced hyperactivity as they become teenagers. However, symptoms such as inattention, disorganization, and poor impulse control may continue into adulthood.

  2. #2
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    Re: ADHD and hyperfocus

    My symptoms and the lack of a regular life schedule have made my hyper focus, really bad and in exteme on and off cycles. getting worse (or more observable probably) these last couple years the less active and more isolated I become. Scheduling and focusing on even basic daily tasks seems almost impossible then something (like my obsession with counting my pennies coming in and going out and creating more spreadsheet options and formulas to track even more stats) yet I can't focus enought to read more than a couple posts at a time without my brain feeling overloaded rapidly.

    Worse is I have the knowledge and experience to create my own personalized program that would make adding features so much easier but I'm unable to focus like if I'm slowly losing my cognitive skills day by day.
    ​"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out." ~ Walter Winchell

  3. #3
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    Re: ADHD and hyperfocus

    My ADHD coach is great at helping me be mindful of what the “narrative” is behind the “I want to do this now instead” and/or “I don’t want to do this right now,” and/or “oops I forgot this needed to be done,” vs “I NEED to do this now!”

    Why do I not want to vacuum?
    Internal Narrative:
    - I’m too tired
    - because I meant to do this earlier and I missed my reminder on the fridge and saw the reminder much later in the day when I was too tired
    - It’s such a lot of vacuuming to do
    - I get sweaty and sometimes my lower back hurts afterward
    - It’s just going to get dirty again
    - I hate emptying the dust bin at the end

    So the problem is “I missed my reminder.”

    Possible solution: “Place the vacuum cleaner against the back door so I don’t forget I need to do this before I go have fun/do errands/etc.”

    Second problem: “Ugh. There’s nothing really fun about vacuuming when there are so many more fun things I can be doing!”

    Possible solution Part I: “What happened last time I put off vacuuming?”
    - dust buildup bothered my allergies
    - I was too embarrassed to have guest visit me
    - The debris got worse and worse, some bugs and probably dust mites got nice and comfortable in the carpet and made me worry at night and I lost sleep
    - I beat myself up for not doing it: felt guilty because not vacuuming means I’m lazy
    - I have enough to do in a day

    Possible solution Part II: “What happened last time I vacuumed?”
    - Was excited to imagine all the disgusting crap getting sucked up and contained in the vacuum.
    - Thought it was always cool that you could see the visible difference between the icky non-vacuumed carpet and the newly vacuumed carpet
    - Guests can visit because I’m not going to be judged or expose them to an icky carpet
    - Felt good to accomplish something.

    How to Execute:
    - It’s easier not to vacuum the entire house but break it up and vacuum a section or for a certain amount of time and then stop.
    - It’s easier to do the vacuuming more slowly instead of fast because less pain/back discomfort
    - I’m more mentally and physically strong/refreshed earlier in the day instead of later when I’m tired
    - instead of doing everything on the chore list, take one off to replace with vacuuming
    - don’t feel guilty about not doing one chore: you’re doing to much which is why you have to drop one chore. Doing too much is NOT “lazy.” It’s just a choice that you can change.



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    Re: ADHD and hyperfocus

    It’s easier not to vacuum the entire house but break it up and vacuum a section or for a certain amount of time and then stop.
    One of the advantages of a tiny home is there is no room for a vacuum cleaner

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    Re: ADHD and hyperfocus

    I like the example of vacuuming because it is harder to distract oneself while doing it (due to the noise).

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    Re: ADHD and hyperfocus

    And of course cats (and dogs) love vacuums.

  7. #7
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    Re: ADHD and hyperfocus

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter View Post
    And of course cats (and dogs) love vacuums.
    lol I have to put up the baby gates so our dog, Douglas, isn’t tempted to attack the vacuum. He’s got a LITTLE more self-control than he used to, and he really tries, but the gate helps him not go bonkers.


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  8. #8
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    Re: ADHD and hyperfocus

    Quote Originally Posted by H011yHawkJ311yBean View Post
    I have to put up the baby gates so our dog, Douglas, isn’t tempted to attack the vacuum. He’s got a LITTLE more self-control than he used to, and he really tries, but the gate helps him not go bonkers.
    For just a moment, I thought you meant David but I guess he's gradually acquired more control over the attack-the-vacuum impulse than Douglas.

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    Re: ADHD and hyperfocus

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter View Post
    For just a moment, I thought you meant David but I guess he's gradually acquired more control over the attack-the-vacuum impulse than Douglas.



    Sent from my Hollycopter using SlappaSquawk
    (Formerly JollyGreenJellyBean)

    My dog is a human whisperer.

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