Skip to content

ADHD and hyperfocus

By Gail Belsky

At a Glance

  • People with ADHD can hyperfocus on things they’re very interested in.

  • Hyperfocus doesn’t mean people don’t have problems with attention.

  • ADHD medication may help with hyperfocus.

People with ADHD have difficulty focusing. But many can also hyperfocus on things they’re very interested in. 

The idea of hyperfocus can be confusing. How can a person who has trouble focusing on most things lose themselves in a video game, movie, or craft project for hours? It might look like that person doesn’t really struggle with attention. 

But having good focus requires two things. People need to be able to pay attention even if something isn’t that interesting. And they need to be able to not pay attention to something interesting — or something that’s bothering them — when they need to focus on doing what they’re doing because it’s more interesting than what they’re being asked to do.

Dive deeper

What causes hyperfocus

People with ADHD have real difficulties that make it hard to control focus (and hyperfocus). It’s not a matter of willpower or laziness.

Trouble with focus and other ADHD symptoms are caused by differences in how the brain develops. Studies have also shown differences in how structures in the brain work together.

These differences make it harder for people with ADHD to work on a task unless they’re very interested in it.

Learn more about ADHD and the brain

Hyperfocus and screen time

Many kids love to play video games, watch TV, and do other screen activities. And it’s not always easy to get them to turn off their screens. But for kids (and some adults) with ADHD, managing screen time is especially difficult. 

They may have trouble keeping track of time. Or shifting their attention away from their screens and switching gears to another activity.

Next steps

Hyperfocus isn’t one of the key symptoms of ADHD. But ADHD treatment can help manage it. That includes medication, which can make it easier to switch attention from one task to another.

First, however, you would need to make sure that ADHD is the cause of the problems with focus. This requires a thorough ADHD evaluation. Talk with your health care professional.

Learn more about:

Related topics

Tell us what interests you

See your recommendations

Tell us what interests you

Select the topics you want to learn more about

See your recommendations

Share

Did you know we have a community app for parents?

Download Wunder on the App Store

Did you know we have a community app for parents?

Learn More About Wunder

Share ADHD and hyperfocus

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • Text Message
  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom

Share ADHD and hyperfocus

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • Text Message
  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom