ADHD and Hyperfocus

ADHD and Hyperfocus: What is it?

Hyperfocus is a condition where a person suffers from excessive focus on one thing or activity. People with hyperfocus often have trouble focusing on other things around them, which may include their surroundings, conversations, or even themselves. They are usually very focused on something they’re doing at any given time. Some people experience the symptoms of hyperfocus only occasionally; others suffer from it all the time.

What causes hyperfocus?

The exact cause of hyperfocus is not known, but there are several theories. One theory suggests that some people with hyperfocus have a genetic predisposition towards having the condition. Another theory states that certain life experiences may trigger the condition in some individuals. For example, being under stress during childhood may lead to developing hyperfocus later in life. Other studies suggest that the disorder might be caused by a combination of factors such as brain chemistry and environmental influences.

How does hyperfocus affect a person’s life?

People with hyperfocus tend to struggle in many aspects of their lives. They are likely to feel bored and unfulfilled, as well as having low self-esteem. Because they cannot concentrate on anything else, they may become easily distracted and forget what they were supposed to do next. Many people with hyperfocus report feeling like they don’t belong anywhere, which makes them feel isolated and depressed. Others become frustrated due to their inability to focus or pay attention.

Can hyperfocus be cured or treated?

There are several treatment options for hyperfocus. Most of these treatments involve some sort of therapy and lifestyle changes. Discussing one’s feelings and thoughts can help a person with hyperfocus understand themselves better. Since the condition is usually related to stress, learning to manage stress can also help to reduce symptoms of hyperfocus.

If you suffer from hyperfocus it is important to stay positive and work towards your goals. If you feel like your condition is severely hindering your life, speak to a medical professional about finding the right treatment options for you.

Sources & references used in this article:

Living “in the zone”: hyperfocus in adult ADHD by KE Hupfeld, TR Abagis, P Shah – ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity …, 2019 – Springer

Diminished prefrontal oxygenation with normal and above-average verbal fluency performance in adult ADHD by M Schecklmann, AC Ehlis, MM Plichta… – Journal of psychiatric …, 2008 – Elsevier

Hyperfocusing as a dimension of adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder by ET Ozel-Kizil, A Kokurcan, UM Aksoy, BB Kanat… – Research in …, 2016 – Elsevier

Hyperfocus in adult ADHD: An EEG study of the differences in cortical activity in resting and arousal states by RH Sklar – 2013 –

Inquiry-based instruction within a community of practice for gifted–ADHD college students by O Hua, BM Shore, E Makarova – Gifted Education …, 2014 –