Is there a term for the opposite of ADD?

For someone who becomes obsessed with something and has great difficulty shifting their attention to something else.

Not as a specific disorder, although this behavior is common amongst people in the autistic spectrum.

From Wikipedia, specific behaviors which might apply:

Stereotypy is repetitive movement, such as hand flapping, making sounds, head rolling, or body rocking.

Compulsive behavior is intended and appears to follow rules, such as arranging objects in stacks or lines.

Sameness is resistance to change; for example, insisting that the furniture not be moved or refusing to be interrupted.

Ritualistic behavior involves an unvarying pattern of daily activities, such as an unchanging menu or a dressing ritual. This is closely associated with sameness and an independent validation has suggested combining the two factors.

Restricted behavior is limited in focus, interest, or activity, such as preoccupation with a single television program, toy, or game.

None exactly fits your definition, though.

Idée fixe.

Hyperfocus is, according to some doctors, a symptom of ADHD. Still in debate though.

I can tell you from experience that Hyperfocus is a symptom of ADD. There are many times where… what’s this thread sticking out my shirt? <stares out the window for a while>


The research community seems to generally agree that ADHD is (among other things) a disorder of attention control, not attention. So someone with ADHD may be able to maintain focus on a single task for a long time, but they’re not going to be able to choose which tasks they focus on to the same degree that a normal person would be able to. Hyperfocus is not a symptom on its own, but it may be part of a cluster of symptoms.

Hyperfocus is what I was thinking about when I asked the question. Thanks.

Nope – I have both.

I think it would be Asperger’s


Mrs. Homie has… whatever we’re discussing in this thread, as well as a minor case of Asperger’s Syndrome.

Here’s a thread from a few months ago where this very question was discussed.

I’ll go with hyperfocus, which is a symptom of ADHD. Sometimes, it’s a boon - you have a project due in X hours, and you can just shut the rest of the world away until you’ve finished the project. Nothing else even pings your radar.

Unfortunately, you don’t get to pick and choose what you hyperfocus on. I’ve started organizing my bookshelves, and I’ll look up at the clock, wondering why my neck hurts so much, and it’s because one particular book distracted me, and I had to go through the entire thing before I could move on to something else.

Sometimes, it feels like a timewarp. I’m sure only ten minutes have passed while I did X, but it turns out to be 40 minutes, and now I’m late for something, and someone’s going to be pissed off at me.



I would say SUBTRACT would be the opposite of ADD ^_~

Your question shows a common misunderstanding of ADD.

A child (like mine) with ADD is NOT incapable of paying attention to something. Indeed, kids with ADD often become extremely (even obsessively) focused on one thing, and will go berserk if you try to direct them away from it.

A kid with ADD’s probelm is not that he can never focus his attention on any one thing. It’s that he has very, very little control over what he pays attention to.

I’ve used this example on the SDMB before: most likely, you find doing your taxes a time-consuming, tedious pain… but you can force yourself to do it, even if there’s something you’d much rather be doing.

On the other hand, even if you’re completely engrossed in a movie on TV, you can probably force yourself to turn it off and get busy with things you know are much more important and much less enjoyable.

A kid with ADD can’t turn his attention on and off the way you can. He may find it impossible to focus on a task he NEEDS to do, but he may also find it impossible to turn away from another task, no matter how trivial, when he NEEDS to do something else.

This is PURE speculation, but some latter-day observers suspect Thomas Edison had ADD or something ike it. He was actually kicked out of school as a kid by teachers who thought him too stupid to listen, focus, or learn anything.

On the other hand, when he became an inventor, he could spend hours and days working obsessively on the same problem.

A kid who COULDN’T focus in school was ALSO an inventor with an absurdly intense level of focus in other contexts. If it seems like a contradiction, well, it really isn’t.

To the OP : I was pretty sure we already covered this one.
To the Quoted** : Good to see the answer still hasn’t changed.

When I was in high school I begged my parents to have me tested for AD(H)D. They always said I couldn’t possibly have ADD since when I found something I enjoyed I could do it for hours. In their minds, I didn’t have a problem with attention, I just had a hard time paying attention to things I didn’t like (like homework). Years later after I had my self tested and diagnosed with ADHD in college, I was reading up on it and showed them that hyperfocus didn’t prove that I didn’t have ADHD, but rather reinforced the fact that I did have it.