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How is being able to focus on, say, a coding problem, a sign of ADHD? This DSM 5 trait sounds a bit arbitrary.

It's important to note that hyperfocus is not a DSM-V criteria for ADHD. In fact, hyperfocus doesn't appear anywhere in any official diagnostic criteria for ADHD that I'm aware of (If I'm wrong, I'd love to know).

The official DSM-V criteria, along with helpful explanations, are available here: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html

I'm still not sure how hyperfocus came to be such a popular idea on internet ADD forums and self-diagnosis websites. If someone can point me toward the etymology of the idea, I'd really like to see it.

Very true! My psychiatrist even said that hyperfocus has nothing to do with how people are diagnosed. He did mention that hyperfocus is a common trait among people who do have ADHD, but not exclusive to them. Meaning there are plenty of non-ADHD human's out there that have the same ability(or issue) to hyperfocus.

It's not the ability to focus on a coding problem, that is a sign of ADHD. It's the inability to focus on anything BUT the coding problem.

It doesn't matter whether it is a coding problem, video game, book, website, or any other task. There are times when there is something much more important to be focusing on, but it requires such an insane amount of effort to focus on that thing, that you simply don't. Or maybe you do focus on the important task, but chances are it doesn't get your full attention or you end up distracted very quickly.

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