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Does taking medication lose hyperfocus on ADHD?

Medical Sciences Asked on January 3, 2021

I wonder if taking medication to deal with unconcentration on ADHD would lose hyperfocus, which is considered one of the advantage of ADHD.

I understand taking medication on ADHD have a side effect such as nausea or a headache. But how about hyperfocus? Or is it dependent on each medicine?

One Answer

What is hyperfocus?

Adults with ADHD often report episodes of long-lasting, highly focused attention, a surprising report given their tendency to be distracted by irrelevant information. This has been colloquially termed “hyperfocus.” (ADHD, 2019)

Do medications used to treat ADHD decrease hyperfocus?

1) Ozel-Kizil et al, 2016, Hyperfocusing as a dimension of adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (Research in Developmental Disabilities) :

In the study, they compared individuals >18 years of age diagnozed with ADHD; one group of 53 individuals without medication and another group of 79 individuals treated with stimulants (methylphenidate or SSRIs):

There was no difference between total Hyperfocusing Scale and Adult ADHD Self- Report Scale scores of two patient groups.

2) Wigal et al, 2012, Adverse events in medication treatment-naïve children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology)

In this study, they were observing side effects of lisdexamfetamine dimesylate for several weeks in 6-12 years old children; in one group they were "stimulant-naive" (not previously treated with stimulants) and in another "previous-exposure subjects".

The stimulant-naïve group reported more trouble sleeping, stomach pain, and hyperfocus...

The hyperfocus was considered a side effect.

RxList and Drugs.com have lists of side effects of ADHD medications (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine), which could interfere with the ability to focus: restlessness, dizziness, fear, anxiety, sleeplessness, impotence, confusion, nausea, headache, etc.

Answered by Jan on January 3, 2021

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