How do I get hyperfocus

ADHD - a misunderstood diagnosis

ADHD is more than the restless, fidgeting or dreaming child. The question “What is ADHD” has sparked a lot of debates that are re-fired time and time again. To many it seems one-sided to call ADHD a syndrome or even a disease. Others, on the other hand, rely on the established term attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder and see ADHD as what science tells us: as a neurobiological disease. But the fashion disease is prematurely misinterpreted or misdiagnosed.

ADHD symptoms in adults and children

The full name of ADHD, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, is not wrong, but it can be misunderstood. Because the name only addresses two characteristics that can be typical symptoms for ADHD sufferers. Inattention and hyperactivity, however, are not the most decisive deficits for every person affected, are not always equally pronounced and sometimes even do not exist at all. The American Psychiatric Association divides the most typical symptoms into three different categories: hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattentiveness. Both children and adults who have one or more of the three symptoms may have:

1. Hyperactivity

What is particularly noticeable about the symptom of hyperactivity is that motor restlessness often turns into inner restlessness. This means the body and mind can be in a hyperactive state. As a result, many children with ADHD talk excessively and often can't wait to have their say. They chatter away, which often makes everyday school life difficult for them. It is also noticeable that children with ADHD feel a strong urge to move. They climb, romp and play very exuberantly and loudly, are constantly on their toes, which is why ADHD is popularly referred to as "Fidgety Philip Syndrome". This symptom can also be a negative factor for the child, especially in school: the urge to move is sometimes so great that children want to get up and leave the classroom to run a lap.

Hyperactivity is also expressed in a similar way in adulthood: those affected talk a lot, embody inner restlessness and have problems relaxing. In some cases, hyperactivity also indicates that those affected often carry out unnecessary movements that cannot be explained by the outsider. For these reasons, adults with hyperactivity often like to live self-determined and lead an active lifestyle.

Possible features at a glance

  • Excessive talking
  • Strong urge to move
  • Inner unrest
  • Having trouble relaxing
  • Active lifestyle

2. Impulsiveness

It is difficult for children with impulsiveness to be patient, for example when it comes to who is first to play a game or who can speak in class. Similar to hyperactivity, those affected find it difficult to hold back from letting others speak and blurt out their responses.

As an adult, the impulsiveness is mainly reflected in rash actions, in which outsiders often feel as if the consequences were not properly thought out. An example of this is that adults with ADHD tend to switch jobs more often for no good reason and in rushes. In addition, with this characteristic, those affected are irritable more quickly and feel anger in the stomach more quickly. The American Psychiatric Association also reports that impulsive adults are more likely to abuse substances.

Possible features at a glance

  • Quick irritability
  • Impulsive actions
  • Consequences are not considered
  • Talk in between and burst out with answers
  • Substance abuse

3. Inattention

Children who have difficulty concentrating are easily distracted, prone to forgetfulness, and have difficulty listening carefully. In addition, it is typical that tasks are not completed, organizational skills fall by the wayside and things are often misplaced or lost. Affected children often avoid prolonged, intellectual activities that require above-average exertion.

Adults have symptoms similar to those of children. They find it difficult to focus, for example when doing office work, and they have deficits in organization, for example when planning vacation. Inadequate time management, difficulty completing tasks, forgetfulness or distractibility often lead to inefficient working methods in children and adults. It is noticeable, however, that many adults with a lack of attention do not complain about their problems, but try different strategies to compensate for unpleasant deficits.

Possible features at a glance

  • Problems maintaining attention
  • Easily distracted
  • Tends to be forgetful
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Organizational difficulties
  • Avoidance / rejection of mentally strenuous tasks
  • Lose / misplace things
  • Working inefficiently

Dormant potential

Affected people sometimes have other peculiarities that most people are barely aware of. Potentials that may even make ADHD sufferers stand out positively from others are often overshadowed by deficits, although this potential should not be given less attention.

1. Hyperfocus

Special ability to concentrate despite attention deficit sounds paradoxical at first. But scientists from the “FMH Psychiatry and Psychotherapy” in Affoltern am Albis confirmed in a study that people with ADHD can develop a particularly strong ability to concentrate if they are enthusiastic about a task. Hyperfocusing, also called hyperfocus, is a specific type of concentration. If the person concerned manages to muster a very special motivation for something, he is able to grasp topics very quickly and to work intensively and persistently without a break. The prerequisite for hyperfocus is therefore most likely a strong, lustfully anticipated stimulus. The psychologist Edmund Sonuga-Barke from the "University of Southampton" described as early as 1998 that so-called attention-deficit children can be superior to their normal peers due to the power of motivation. Hyperfocus has great advantages when a topic has to be worked on independently. This would also be an explanation for the fact that many ADHD sufferers go into business for themselves and enjoy being able to organize their working hours flexibly.

2. Hypersensitivity

Many people with ADHD experience hypersensitivity. This means that they often perceive all human senses in an intensified form. So they see, hear, smell, taste and feel in some cases significantly better than other people and have increased intuition. It also seems that they can absorb much more than what is normal. According to neurobiological findings, the reason for this is that their perceptions are less filtered than with other people. Due to their hypersensitive sensations, ADHD sufferers register both sympathies and antipathies much faster. This can lead to social conflict. The hypersensitivity or the constant overstimulation can even trigger depression in those affected. Basically, however, a consciously lived hypersensitivity has great potential. It is not uncommon for people with ADHD to work in the creative field.

Has ADHD Become a Fashion Disease?

More and more children are diagnosed with ADHD. As the Swiss Medical Journal reports, the purchase of ADHD drugs such as Ritalin has risen by 42 percent in recent years. While many scientists continue to research neurobiological processes, other researchers now assume that the majority of children with the supposed diagnosis of ADHD go through a normal developmental process.

Why is the number of people with ADHD increasing?

Numerous studies attribute the cause of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder to genetic causes. How does that fit together? Have children changed in the last few decades? Yes, but not her genetics have changed.

First of all, it is important to understand that ADHD has essentially become a cultural phenomenon. As the stimulus density grows, the human being's perception is more and more stressed. Today the subject has to learn to deal with more and more sensory impressions independently. For example, when we are on the train, we hear not only the noises in the track bed but also the conversations of the passengers, a restless child in the other compartment, a barking dog across the street or the ringing phone in our pocket. We see display boards in the compartment, new messages on the smartphone, laptop or tablet, we smell different perfumes and food in our immediate vicinity and feel the upholstery on our seat.

For almost everyone it is not easy to select so many stimuli, i.e. to separate the important from the unimportant. If you cannot concentrate on a demanding task with so many impressions at the same time, you will not immediately suffer from ADHD. If the stimulus is too high, everyone's resilience can reach its limits. In addition, many parents believe that they need to constantly stimulate their offspring. Often she overcomes the need, for example when her offspring expresses displeasure. Persistent overstimulation can set in motion a fatal feedback loop in children. Because the more stimulation they get, the more they thirst for new stimuli.

Disease or not?

It is important to know that ADHD diagnoses are made too quickly these days and that the term ADHD is therefore increasingly becoming a general term for children with attention problems and restlessness. Those who are actually affected often have a different perception, which means that non-affected people see their behavior differently. Some people find it difficult not to see ADHD as just something negative. Not only outsiders have difficulties with this, but ADHD sufferers themselves often develop a false sense of self-worth. It is therefore understandable that without the full knowledge of ADHD, the term “disease” or “syndrome” appears like a reduced umbrella term for something unpleasant, although the so-called ADHD can also have many positive properties.

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