ADHD and boredom

By Peg Rosen

Boredom isn’t a symptom of ADHD. It’s a common result, though. Kids and adults with ADHD need more stimulation than most people. Not having it can lead to behavior that’s confusing and challenging.

Here’s an example: Clay, a grade-schooler, keeps disrupting the class. The teacher sends him to the principal’s office, where Clay says “it’s stupid to just sit there” in class. This might mean: “To sit still and stay focused, I need something really interesting to do.”

Most kids can stick it out until class ends or the teacher moves on to a new subject. But kids with ADHD often can’t. When boredom sinks in, they might have trouble with self-control. Or they might seek out attention in inappropriate ways.

Boredom doesn’t just happen when kids need to do things that they don’t find interesting, either. Kids with ADHD often say they’re bored even when they’re free to do what they want. 

The situations are different for adults, but the challenge is the same. Adults might take out their phone and send texts during a presentation. Or they might start an argument or a debate if a conversation is too dull.

People with ADHD don’t mean to be annoying or rude when they behave this way. They just can struggle to find ways to keep themselves from being bored.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Peg Rosen writes for digital and print, including

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Jodi Gold, MD is a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist in private practice.