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ADHD Symptoms 101 – Inattention: A General Discussion


In our previous discussion about ADHD symptoms, we tackled impulsivity, the lesser discussed trait among the three. As a recap, impulsivity is the tendency to act on a whim without any regard of the corresponding consequences. In this article, we’re going to be talking about the opposite – ADHD symptom inattention, one of the most popular symptom that is immediately mentioned and highlighted when the common people talk about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Focus is not about one’s personal determination. It’s about the function of a strong (or weak) neural connection in the brain. These networks are the way different regions of the brain reach out and communicate. However, these neural networks, work very differently for people (child or adult) with ADHD. This disparity impacts regular regulation with one’s focus, impulsivity, and emotions.

Defining ADHD Symptom Inattention

Inattention, which is one of the primary symptoms of ADHD, brings a shortage – or an abundance – of focus. Why and how does this occur?

A child, or adult, that shows inattentive tendencies, may struggle to focus on daily tasks where multiple distractions lurk and try to catch your attention. A child with ADHD might find it hard to concentrate in class when they notice birds flying outside. In the same manner, an adult with ADHD might find it hard to focus on their work when the workplace is filled with different types of noise

On the other end, inattention might also result in an extreme focus on people with ADHD. An inattentive child may be super focused on a video game that they would fail to notice what goes on in their surroundings. An adult might be so focused on reading a newspaper that they’d also fail to see that their coffee has already spilled on the table.

Basically, inattention, paired with other ADHD symptoms, will make it hard for people to pay attention when it’s on demand, or break their focus on something that interests them. Why does this happen?

Proper ADHD Assessment: Understanding Inattention

Welcome and unwelcome distractions activate the “automatic attention capture system” of the brain, which involuntarily responds to sights and sounds. This system then sends signals to the brain’s parietal lobe, which is the region responsible for tracking obligations and long-term goals.

On the other end, for ADHD brains, the neural network connections are weak and underdeveloped. This issue results in the following:

  • The neural signals that tell the brain to refocus and ignore distraction are lost.
  • The person with ADHD will either be zoned in or zoned out with what they are doing, without having any reminder to reset.
  • It sometimes feels like the sections of the brain are not collaborating with each other.

Because the parietal lobe can’t capture and process attention, the behaviour is not restrained. In other words, a person’s ability does not concern their motivation or willpower. The ability to focus is the function of the axonal strands connecting to different regions of your brain, which is complicated science, to say the least.


Like any other ADHD symptom, inattention is often misunderstood and misjudged. It pays to be aware of this and be more knowledgeable about approaching an inattentive person. If you have symptoms of inattention, contact your nearest ADHD clinic now. With proper ADHD treatment and medications, you can be able to control and manage your inattentive tendencies without any issues.

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We have been diagnosing and treating people with ADHD since 2009.

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