Inattention and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Inattention related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is having a shorter-than-expected attention span based on a person's age. People with symptoms of inattention often have problems with:

  • Listening when spoken to directly.
  • Being easily distracted and staying on task. For example, a person may fail to finish projects or make careless mistakes related to schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace despite having understood instructions and shown a willingness to do the work.
  • Being forgetful. They might lose things that are needed for tasks or activities, such as toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools.
  • Avoiding, disliking, or being reluctant to do tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as schoolwork or homework.
  • Overconcentrating on certain activities that do not tax their attention, such as television or computer games. It may be hard to get them to stop and do something else.

Last Updated: April 17, 2008

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