Typical ADHD Behaviors

Medication Doesn’t Solve Hyperfocus

Even with medication, people with ADHD need additional support to rein in the tendency to hyperfocus.

Stimulant medication can reduce the tendency of an individual with ADHD to hyperfocus, but it won’t eliminate the problem. “Stimulants increase the reward value of boring tasks so that people find them a bit more interesting and are able to stay with them longer,” says Dr. Russell Barkley.

But even with appropriate drug therapy, people with ADHD will still need help from friends, family members, and colleagues to rein in the tendency to hyperfocus on computer games, television, and so on.

As Dr. Larry Silver points out, some people with ADHD intentionally hyperfocus as a way to block out extraneous sights and sounds. “The hyperfocus is actually the result of distractibility,” he says. “Medication decreases the distractibility, and the frequency of hyperfocus decreases with it.”