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  #1  
Old 07-16-17, 04:21 PM
ChRoTa3 ChRoTa3 is offline
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Let's talk about Hyperfocus

Hyperfocus giveth and hyperfocus taketh away. What are your stories, experiences, tips, etc. for living with this fickle mistress?



So anyone who plays PC games knows about Steam's summer sales and how amazing, yet risky, they are. For those non-gamer's out there, Steam is a company that you can download PC games from. Twice a year they have a crazy sale where pretty much everything is 70% or so off. Just to put things into perspective, something that would typically cost $60 is all of a sudden $10 for a few days.

I've had my eye on 4 strategy games from a series I've played since I was 10. Steam's sale rolled around and the battle began. Part of my brain was like, "Hell yeah! They were $200 and now they're only $60." The other half kept nagging something along the lines of, "Stahp. You don't need to spend the rest of your summer locked away in your room like golum. You're pale enough and have too much to do."

Well let's just say I got my precious back from those hobbitses.
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Old 07-16-17, 06:19 PM
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Re: Let's talk about Hyperfocus

I spend way too much time every day hyperfocused on news sights and Internet forums like this one and Facebook groups. I haven't been much into games in the past but just recently was looking at getting some games from Steam. But I'm not sure if I should feed my Internet addiction by adding gaming.
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Old 07-16-17, 06:22 PM
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Re: Let's talk about Hyperfocus

Maybe just buying one is the answer. Vitamin D is important.
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Old 07-16-17, 07:27 PM
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Re: Let's talk about Hyperfocus

Well, first we should get something straight. ADHD does not lead to or cause hyperfocus.

Focusing on something without the ability to switch to something else when you should be is called perseveration.


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Old 07-16-17, 07:40 PM
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Re: Let's talk about Hyperfocus

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Originally Posted by aeon View Post
Well, first we should get something straight. ADHD does not lead to or cause hyperfocus.

Focusing on something without the ability to switch to something else when you should be is called perseveration.


Cheers,
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Some of the experts on ADHD use the term "perseveration," but I've also seen quite a few of them who use the term "hyperfocus."
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Old 07-16-17, 11:55 PM
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Re: Let's talk about Hyperfocus

Yeah adhd alone does not have hyperfocus. So I have heard. However, for those of us with autistic traits all beta are off.

I'm not buying the perseveration line. I have great difficulty transitioning from one task to another and my brain simply will not process information in that lapse or delay.

If I'm reading a book, I'm just reading a book, not perseverating on a book. If you try and talk to me while I'm engaged i will hear you speaking but can't make my brain switch to listening. I do hyperfocus while reading, and this issue comes up a lot. Each of my siblings has this same issue and yet I am the only one with adhd.

People with adhd can and do hyperfocus.
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  #7  
Old 07-17-17, 07:38 AM
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Re: Let's talk about Hyperfocus

People often speak of hyperfocus as if its a good thing. I have heard people say that they can "use" hyperfocus to their advantage. Personally I look at it as an impairment whether its called perseveration or hyperfocus. It impairs my ability to focus on what I need to and affects my productivity. Its never been a good thing for me.
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  #8  
Old 07-17-17, 10:11 AM
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Re: Let's talk about Hyperfocus

Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger's, Depression and other Disorders. James T. Webb, PhD., ABPP-CI, Edward R. Amend, Psy.D., Jadia, E. Webb, Psy.D., Jean Goerss, M.D., M.P.H., Paul Beljan, Psy.D., ABPdN, and F. Richard Olenchack, Ph.D.. 2004.

"Some professionals believe that if a person with ADD/ADHD has the ability to focus and pay attention in certain situations, then he is showing a condition that has been called "hyperfocus" (Hallowell & Ratey, 1994). Hyperfocus is an anomaly in some people with ADD/ADHD in which they are able to concentrate unusually well in a specific area. It is important to note that there are no empirical data that support hyperfocus as an aspect of ADD/ADHD. In gifted children without ADD/ADHD, this rapt and productive attention state is described by Csikszentmihalyi (1990) as "flow."

In children who do suffer from ADD/ADHD, the experience of hyperfocus is more likely to occur in the presence of events that are fast changing and engaging, such as action movies, sporting events, or computer games. There is empirical evidence for something called "perseveration" in children with ADD/ADHD, which means difficulty changing from one task to another (Barkely, 1997). These children will have difficulty switching from one frame of mind to another or from one task to another. School settings typically require such frequent attention shifts, and tasks required of the child are often not intrinsically rewarding and involve some effort. ADD/ADHD is not necessarily characterized by an inability to sustain attention, but rather by difficulties in appropriately regulating the application of attention to various tasks, particularly to tasks that are not personally rewarding or require that effort.

Most importantly, these children have difficulty abandoning strategies, even when they are not succeeding. They will doggedly persist in doing something that doesn't work, hasn't worked in the past, and is unlikely to work in the future. What has been coined "hyperfocus" in persons with ADD/ADHD seems to be a less medical-sounding description of perseveration. Thus, the apparent ability to concentrate in certain limited situations does not exclude the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD."



The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know. Maureen Neihart, Sally M. Reis, Nancy Robinson and Sidney Moon. 2002.

"A third reason for misidentification of this population is their unusual attentional profile (Kaufmann & Castellanos. 2000). The reinforcement gradient for children with AD/HD differs from that of normal children (Kaufmann, Kalbfleish, & Castellanos, 2000). The reinforcement gradient is the rate at which reinforcement strength decreases as the time interval between a behavior and its consequence increases. For children with AD/HD, the gradient is lower than normal when reinforcement is delayed and higher than normal when it is immediate. In practical terms, the first pattern means that a primary characteristic of the disorder is that children with AD/HD have more difficulty than normal children sustaining attention in low-interest, low-stimulation activities with distal reinforcers. Unfortunately, such tasks characterize much of the work assigned in schools (repetitive homework, studying for unit tests, researching topics that are not interesting to the student, etc.). At the same time, however, the second pattern means that children with AD/HD can sustain attention better than normal children when interest is high, tasks are challenging, and reinforcement is rapid. Examples include working under deadline pressure, video games, and self-selected creative expression. Under these conditions, children with AD/HD enter a state called "hyperfocus" that bears a strong resemblance to the state of "flow" described by (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; 1997). In this state, their attentional problems disappear, leading observing adults to believe that their problems sustaining attention on more routine tasks are due to a failure of will, rather than a cognitive handicap. The discrepancy between these two attentional profiles in a gifted child with AD/HD is frustrating for teachers and may lead them to not nominate such students for gifted programs."
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  #9  
Old 07-17-17, 02:31 PM
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Re: Let's talk about Hyperfocus

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Originally Posted by ChRoTa3 View Post
Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger's, Depression and other Disorders. James T. Webb, PhD., ABPP-CI, Edward R. Amend, Psy.D., Jadia, E. Webb, Psy.D., Jean Goerss, M.D., M.P.H., Paul Beljan, Psy.D., ABPdN, and F. Richard Olenchack, Ph.D.. 2004.

"Some professionals believe that if a person with ADD/ADHD has the ability to focus and pay attention in certain situations, then he is showing a condition that has been called "hyperfocus" (Hallowell & Ratey, 1994). Hyperfocus is an anomaly in some people with ADD/ADHD in which they are able to concentrate unusually well in a specific area. It is important to note that there are no empirical data that support hyperfocus as an aspect of ADD/ADHD. In gifted children without ADD/ADHD, this rapt and productive attention state is described by Csikszentmihalyi (1990) as "flow."

In children who do suffer from ADD/ADHD, the experience of hyperfocus is more likely to occur in the presence of events that are fast changing and engaging, such as action movies, sporting events, or computer games. There is empirical evidence for something called "perseveration" in children with ADD/ADHD, which means difficulty changing from one task to another (Barkely, 1997). These children will have difficulty switching from one frame of mind to another or from one task to another. School settings typically require such frequent attention shifts, and tasks required of the child are often not intrinsically rewarding and involve some effort. ADD/ADHD is not necessarily characterized by an inability to sustain attention, but rather by difficulties in appropriately regulating the application of attention to various tasks, particularly to tasks that are not personally rewarding or require that effort.

Most importantly, these children have difficulty abandoning strategies, even when they are not succeeding. They will doggedly persist in doing something that doesn't work, hasn't worked in the past, and is unlikely to work in the future. What has been coined "hyperfocus" in persons with ADD/ADHD seems to be a less medical-sounding description of perseveration. Thus, the apparent ability to concentrate in certain limited situations does not exclude the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD."



The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know. Maureen Neihart, Sally M. Reis, Nancy Robinson and Sidney Moon. 2002.

"A third reason for misidentification of this population is their unusual attentional profile (Kaufmann & Castellanos. 2000). The reinforcement gradient for children with AD/HD differs from that of normal children (Kaufmann, Kalbfleish, & Castellanos, 2000). The reinforcement gradient is the rate at which reinforcement strength decreases as the time interval between a behavior and its consequence increases. For children with AD/HD, the gradient is lower than normal when reinforcement is delayed and higher than normal when it is immediate. In practical terms, the first pattern means that a primary characteristic of the disorder is that children with AD/HD have more difficulty than normal children sustaining attention in low-interest, low-stimulation activities with distal reinforcers. Unfortunately, such tasks characterize much of the work assigned in schools (repetitive homework, studying for unit tests, researching topics that are not interesting to the student, etc.). At the same time, however, the second pattern means that children with AD/HD can sustain attention better than normal children when interest is high, tasks are challenging, and reinforcement is rapid. Examples include working under deadline pressure, video games, and self-selected creative expression. Under these conditions, children with AD/HD enter a state called "hyperfocus" that bears a strong resemblance to the state of "flow" described by (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; 1997). In this state, their attentional problems disappear, leading observing adults to believe that their problems sustaining attention on more routine tasks are due to a failure of will, rather than a cognitive handicap. The discrepancy between these two attentional profiles in a gifted child with AD/HD is frustrating for teachers and may lead them to not nominate such students for gifted programs."
Thanks for posting all these interesting passages from the literature about "hyperfocus" and "perseveration." I especially like the part in the last passage which says "that children with AD/HD have more difficulty than normal children sustaining attention in low-interest, low-stimulation activities" which includes "researching topics that are not interesting to the student."

All of this reminds me that when I went in to get my own diagnosis for ADHD five years ago, I brought copies of all my old report cards from Kindergarten through High School and one of the issues that appeared in the teachers' comments was that I had experienced reading problems. In the 2nd grade, they wanted to hold me back a year and in the 3rd grade a teacher wrote in my report card, "He is very weak in Reading skills." I wasn't much interested in reading until the 6th grade when one of my teachers wrote in my report card:

Quote:
He needs to be more organized but basically he can produce very good work in English. When interested in a topic, his comprehension is excellent as w/ "The Lord of the Rings."
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien was one of the first books I remember having read that held my interest and my attention so that I could read it from beginning to end. It's still one of my favorite books. But that was kind of an exception, because I still have a hard time finishing most books unless they're about something that I find especially fascinating. Then I can become hyperfocused on a book.
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Old 07-17-17, 04:08 PM
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Re: Let's talk about Hyperfocus

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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien was one of the first books I remember having read that held my interest and my attention so that I could read it from beginning to end. It's still one of my favorite books. But that was kind of an exception, because I still have a hard time finishing most books unless they're about something that I find especially fascinating. Then I can become hyperfocused on a book.
I can totally relate. If it's something that I instantly click with I can get lost a book very easily.

Something I've never been able to do though is just read one book at a time. At any given moment I have at least 4 books stacked up on my desk or by my bed. Right now I've actually got 6 going. Most of the plot details and facts will come back to me a few paragraphs in, but occasionally I just forget about a book completely and end up taking it off my shelf months later with a bookmark still in it.
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Old 07-17-17, 04:35 PM
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Re: Let's talk about Hyperfocus

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I can totally relate. If it's something that I instantly click with I can get lost a book very easily.

Something I've never been able to do though is just read one book at a time. At any given moment I have at least 4 books stacked up on my desk or by my bed. Right now I've actually got 6 going. Most of the plot details and facts will come back to me a few paragraphs in, but occasionally I just forget about a book completely and end up taking it off my shelf months later with a bookmark still in it.
I'm exactly the same. I am usually reading 6 or 7 or even more books at the same time. I frequently go to a café like Starbucks to read and almost always take 4 or 5 books with me in my book bag. I've been doing that for years, ever since I was in college.

A lot of the books I'm reading never get completely finished, at least not the first time, especially if I hit a boring part. Sometimes I'll read something in the news or in another book that will remind of a book I had been reading previously and I'll get it off the shelf and return to it months or even a year or years later. Almost all of the books on my book shelves (and I have a couple thousand) have book marks in the middle of them showing where I left off. Lately, I've gotten to where I'll put the half dozen or more books I'm currently reading on the floor in my office with the covers showing so that I can see them. If I put one of them back on the shelf, I'm more likely to forget about it and move on to another newer and what has become a more interesting book for me. Only if a book is especially interesting to me can I become hyperfocused on it and finish it the first time through.

And I'm probably one of Amazon's favorite customers, always looking for a new book.
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Old 07-17-17, 05:08 PM
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Re: Let's talk about Hyperfocus

Right now I am hyperfocused on getting my act together: organizing my home, doing my best at work, doing administration. I made a huge amount of progress this week, which is great, but I hope that I can maintain what I am building/repairing right now.

I fear that it may just be a period of hyperfocus and that everything will collapse afterwards.

Fortunately, I have a coach now and I involve my family and friends in my process. I hope that they will be able to catch me when I fall.

I try to get enough sleep, I don't try to do too much to fast and I try to take some time off every day (and a bit more in the weekend), so that it can be sustainable.

The problem with ADHD is not the lack of attention, but that it's much harder to direct this to the right things. I sometimes feel like my brain is living me, controlling where I should go by continually switching it's hyperfocus.

However, at least now my hyperfocus is on something productive. Let's see how long that lasts.
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Old 07-17-17, 11:04 PM
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Re: Let's talk about Hyperfocus

my hyperfocus is reading, it has to be extremely interesting to me

which is only a few subjects

i go into a state where i can block everything out and read a book in 15 minutes

if it doesnt interest me i can maybe read 2 sentences in the same time, and forget them

ironically when i type /write , it doesnt matter the interest level, each letter requires a fight with my brain to get out
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Old 07-17-17, 11:19 PM
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Re: Let's talk about Hyperfocus

the perseveration as described in autism is a quite a stretch, it was likely used to prevent anything that might be viewed as a positive

it get people get offended by talk of this, but it just seems to be a fact

hyper focus is no clinically defined term that has been ruled out of ADHD, just means extreme focus ,



in adhd it appears to happen on topics of interest, interest is an emotion, possibly poorly regulated
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