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.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Gail Belsky is executive editor at Understood. She has written and edited for major media outlets, specializing in parenting, health, and career content.

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Ellen Braaten, PhD is the director of LEAP at Massachusetts General Hospital.