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Hyper-Focus

Posted 07-12-08 at 04:27 PM by houts
[Posted from my blog: http://houtsvideo.blogspot.com/]

"It's no secret that children and adults with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) often struggle to focus on tasks they find uninteresting. High distractibility in children with ADHD who are unable to stay focused on a classroom lecture or in adults with ADD who never get around to doing their paperwork is a key ADHD symptom and diagnosis criterion.
A lesser known ADHD symptom is the tendency for children and adults with attention deficit disorder to focus very intently on things that do interest them. At times, the focus is so strong that they become oblivious to the world around them.
For children, the object of "hyperfocus" might be playing a video game or watching TV. For adults, it might be shopping or surfing the Internet. But whatever holds the attention, the result is the same: Unless something or someone interrupts, hours drift by as important tasks and relationships fall by the wayside. "People who think ADD means having a short attention span misunderstand what ADD is," says Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D., a psychologist in Silver Spring, Maryland, and the author of ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life. "A better way to look at it is that people with ADD have a disregulated attention system."
There is no better way to paraphrase my level of intensity than when I am in 'Hyper-Focus' mode. The article above provides an example of this concept. Without a doubt I would back this concept. There are times I find my intent on finishing whatever I am doing. May it be my wife or friend, I take personal offense if I have to stop what I am doing.


It's my mind yelling, "Hey, can't you see that I'm busy?"


My body reacts to this interruption, my mind takes notice and causes strife. There are benefits to such intensity. For example, currently I am working on my thesis for graduate school. I spent more time procrastinating because of the worry of not achieving to held standards of higher education. Even if I knew I was an educated person with a great work ethic. It did not matter. However, once I overcame my own self-doubt, inner-struggle, I was able to start my work. Once started it was like a locomotive train. There is no easy way to stop it. So you may be asking what are the benefits? We, ADD/ADHD, generally, tend to overachieve in what we do when we are in this 'Hyper-Focus' mode. I spent more time than needed in reading journal and scholarly articles. While the time may be seem wasted, the rewards I reap are reciprocal.
In the world of higher education, there is no such thing as knowing too much; it is advantageous in believing you do.


In this 'Hyper-Focus' mode, I find what I read jumps from the working memory to long-term memory, the long-term potentiation, without a bypass. On quite an occasion will I find myself forgetting simple things. The only answer I find is because whatever I deem to be unimportant, or not in my mode, goes into my working memory without any items being put into my sensory input for long-term potential. This is referred as the "modal model". However, I will leave the expertise to professionals in this field of neurology. I have begun reading in this area to get a further understanding for the process (i.e. mind) rather than the outcome (chemicals) from 'Hyper-Focus'.

This is an area I take special notice due to inflammatory remarks on the memory and concentration of ADD/ADHD adults. Mind you, I did not say children. I want to be very clear about this.
As a child I learned to adapt to what worked best when it came to written tests and oral exams. My ability to adapt, and overcome, is probably, and I would almost say without a doubt, gave me the drive (and confidence) to succeed in undergraduate school.
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