A confusing symptom of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is hyper focus, the ability to focus on a single activity for hours. ADHD sufferers whilst unable to concentrate in class, often have the ability to concentrate intently on activities that interest them. Hyper focus is not listed in the DSM-5 criteria for ADHD, and is very different from the other symptoms of ADHD.
ADHD sufferers often become so focused that they become oblivious to the world around them. This focus is narrower and more powerful than normal concentration and can be described as fixated. Once these people focus on a single activity, they find it difficult to shift their attention to another activity. They are drawn to activities such as computer games that offer instant feedback and gratification. ADHD sufferers have an unregulated attention system rather than just a short attention span, their attention settling on either end of the attention spectrum.
Some experts believe that hyper focus may be a coping mechanism which sufferers use to overcome their inattention. Some people are able to channel hyper focus into getting dull tasks done, some even making successful careers by channeling this focus into their work. Unfortunately, hyper focus is more often a liability. Children are likely to channel hyper focus into entertaining pastimes rather than into school work, combine this with poor time management and problems with socializing and the child could spend an … Read the rest