What Is Hyperfocus?

Hyperfocus is a common symptom of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It can occur with both the hyperactive and attention-deficit types of the disorder. Understanding hyperfocus is important to understanding how an ADHD patient's brain works. Many individuals find hyperfocus contradictory to the nature of ADHD. Patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder often struggle to concentrate on tasks for long periods. But with hyperfocus, affected individuals become fixated on a single task or interest and can do it for extended time periods. They may be unable to pay attention to anything other than their area of interest. Hyperfocus can sometimes be frustrating for those around individuals with ADHD because they don't understand why the individual can't apply the same level of focus to every task.

Basic Definition Of Hyperfocus


Hyperfocus is a behavior that occurs most commonly in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorders. It's best studied in terms of how it relates to ADHD. When individuals hyperfocus, they experience an intense and deep concentration on a particular subject, task, or activity. While the hallmark symptom of ADHD is an inability to concentrate for long periods on specific tasks, the existence of hyperfocus changes researchers' understanding of how the disorder works. Individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are not completely incapable of focusing in all circumstances. Instead, the disorder can be considered an issue with the regulation of an individual's attention. Patients might struggle to turn their attention toward tasks like schoolwork, chores, the workplace, or even leisure activities they want to do. Instead, their attention wanders and fixates on things without their conscious input.

Learn about the benefits linked to hyperfocus next.

Katherine MacAulay