Attention and Willpower

The examples of Larry and Monica bring us back to the central riddle of chronic inattention: How can someone who is very good at paying attention for some activities be unable to pay enough attention to other tasks that they know are important and really want to accomplish? When I have asked this question of patients with ADHD, most answer with something like: "It's easy! If it's something I'm really interested in, I can pay attention. If it's not interesting to me, I can't pay attention, regardless of how much I might want to."

Most people respond to this answer with skepticism. "That's true for anyone," they say. "Anybody's going to pay attention better for something they're interested in than for something they're not."

But for some individuals there is an important difference. When faced with something boring that they know they have to do, that's important to them, most people can make themselves focus on the task at hand. Yet some lack this ability unless the consequences of not paying attention are very immediate and severe. One middle-aged businessman, Henry, whom I had diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, once reported:

I've got a sexual example for what it is like to have ADD. It's like having impotence of the mind. If the task you are trying to do is something that turns you on, you're "up" for it and you can per form. But if the task you are trying to do is not intrinsically interesting, if it doesn't turn you on, then you can't "get it up." You can't make it happen. It's just not a willpower kind of thing.

Understanding And Treating ADHD

Understanding And Treating ADHD

Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD is a very complicated, and time and again misinterpreted, disorder. Its beginning is physiological, but it can have a multitude of consequences that come alongside with it. That apart, what is the differentiation between ADHD and ADD ADHD is the abbreviated form of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, its major indications being noticeable hyperactivity and impulsivity.

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