What is Overfocused ADD?

Overfocused ADD is a type of ADD characterized by inflexible cognitive thinking, inability to appropriately shift one’s attention from task to task and can also include hyper-focused, argumentativeness, obsessiveness, and excessive worrying.

Like the other theorized “7 types of ADD” (Classic ADD, Inattentive ADD, Temporal Lobe ADD, Anxious ADDRing of Fire ADD, and Limbic ADD), Overfocused ADD is a brain disorder, whereby the anterior cingulate gyrus is frequently dysregulated which is involved in being able to shift your attention from task to task.

When this process is dysregulated, the brain can get stuck on negative thinking or behavior which can drastically affect the sufferer’s thinking and cognitive ability.

Fortunately, the Drake Institute’s non-invasive, drug-free treatment protocols have been clinically shown to have positive effects in helping to reduce the symptoms of overfocused ADD.

To help our readers learn more, this article will cover extensively about this theorized type of ADD and how the Drake Institute has helped families from all around the world find relief from their ADD and ADHD symptoms. 

Please note that the theoretical 7 types of ADD, including overfocused ADD, are not official disorders or diagnoses recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. However, because the general population has become aware of these labels due to popular media describing their existence, we feel that they are still worth addressing.

Overfocused ADD Symptoms

Because Overfocused ADD is often directly linked to irregular brain activity in the anterior cingulate gyrus, sufferers of this type of ADD can experience symptoms like the following:


  • Inattentive behavior
  • Trouble shifting behavior
  • Inflexible cognitive thinking
  • May or may not be hyperactive
  • Stuck in a “negative thought loop”
  • Obsessive
  • Compulsive
  • Excessive worrying
  • Argumentative
  • Difficulty adjusting to changing conditions


One thing that’s important to note about these symptoms is the varying presence of hyperactivity in those afflicted with this type of ADD.

Some people will exhibit hyperactivity, while others will not, and some individuals who are afflicted with Overfocused ADD get misdiagnosed as having an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which is understandable when we consider how similar their symptoms are.

Those who are afflicted with Overfocused ADD may become threatened emotionally when demands are made on them to shift their focus to another activity. It can lead to argumentative or oppositional behavior.

The Effect of Overfocused ADD

Overfocused ADD can have a devastating effect on both children and adults, as the primary symptoms can make it difficult to succeed in activities requiring intense mental effort with flexibility.

Be it at school, work, or at home, Overfocused ADD can be a disruptive force if left untreated. Thusly, it’s important to recognize its symptoms as early as possible and to seek treatment immediately thereafter.

Overfocused ADD Symptoms in Children

Children afflicted with Overfocused ADD may showcase a high level of stubbornness and/or irritability. Additionally, many children who have this type of ADD can become highly argumentative at a moment’s notice or obsess over specific tasks that are of interests to them.

Indeed, a child suffering from this disorder might spend excessive time erasing and re-doing their homework. When confronted by an adult or teacher, the child could even become extremely emotional and bothered by the fact that someone is telling them that “it’s okay” or that it’s “already good enough”. They may feel the opposite. This is partly due to their brain being unable to “shift gears”.

Making matters worse, this volatility can result in painful temper tantrums that no amount of consoling can amend.

Children with Overfocused ADD may hold powerful grudges against those who have slighted them for minor things and become excessively upset when their favorite toy or video game is taken away from them.

Overfocused ADD Symptoms in Adults

Adults with Overfocused ADD suffer many of the same challenges as children, though they tend to not be as emotional but can be just as inflexible with shifting their focus.

Adults afflicted by this disorder may demonstrate an extreme “rigidity” with their thinking, and be highly resistant to changes in their environment.

And because Overfocused ADD can cause individuals to become stuck in a “negative thought loop”, adults with this disorder may spend an excessive amount of time worrying about their day-to-day responsibilities with a rigid, negative narrow focus. 

Overfocused ADD Treatment Options

Typical treatments for Overfocused ADD range from counseling, nutritional supplements, and medications. Stimulant ADD medication could increase the over focusing.

These treatment protocols are often sub-optimal solutions that may only provide temporary relief from symptoms.

In some cases, stimulant ADD medications may actually cause a child or adult to become even more symptomatic, more overfocused, moody and/or irritable. The reason for this is that stimulant ADD medications can stimulate the anterior cingulate gyrus which may already be dysregulated or possibly overstimulated to begin with. In essence, the stimulant medication may exacerbate the dysregulation, leading to more symptoms.

And while diet may sometimes improve a person’s mood and help manage some symptoms associated with Overfocused ADD, it still doesn’t address the primary issue, which is brain dysregulation.

At the Drake Institute, we approach ADD treatment in an entirely different way: by relying on qEEG brain mapping technology to identify the dysregulation within the brain, we can develop a treatment plan that is not only highly effective but individually tailored to the patient’s specific needs (linking symptoms to the dysregulated brain activity).

Our treatment plans utilize both neurofeedback and biofeedback therapy and neuromodulation to improve the brain’s natural ability to regulate itself more appropriately. Neurofeedback and Biofeedback and Neuromodulation are non-invasive treatment methods, but what’s more, they’re also capable of providing patients with the capacity for self-regulation, which can lead to long-lasting symptom relief.

By helping our patients develop the mental skills and improved brain functioning required for self-regulation, we can help reduce our patient’s dependency on medications, though, in some cases medication and changes to diet may still be necessary.

The patient can now rely on the resources of their own brain to improve their symptoms. In fact, many of our patients may be able to be titrated off of or at least reduce the amount of medication needed. The medications can be expensive and sometimes have unwanted side effects.

Contact the Drake Institute Today

Overfocused ADD is a serious disorder involving a very specific set of complex structures within the brain, and manifesting symptoms similar to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  

Without proper treatment, those experiencing the effects of Overfocused ADD are at risk of facing a dysfunctional, compromised, and unhappy life.

At the Drake Institute, we help patients discover their full potential and get their lives back on track, without relying solely on drugs.

Get the help your family deserves at the Drake Institute today. Contact us at 1-800-700-4233 to schedule a no-cost screening consultation.

We’re here to help you put the pieces back together, and, no matter how broken things may seem sometimes, relief may be possible at the Drake Institute.

Contact Us Today

To get the help you or a loved one needs, call now to schedule your no-cost screening consultation.

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“David F. Velkoff, M.D., our Medical Director and co-founder, supervises all evaluation procedures and treatment programs. He is recognized as a physician pioneer in using biofeedback, qEEG brain mapping, neurofeedback, and neuromodulation in the treatment of ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and stress related illnesses including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure. Dr. David Velkoff earned his Master’s degree in Psychology from the California State University at Los Angeles in 1975, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta in 1976. This was followed by Dr. Velkoff completing his internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology with an elective in Neurology at the University of California Medical Center in Irvine. He then shifted his specialty to Neurophysical Medicine and received his initial training in biofeedback/neurofeedback in Neurophysical Medicine from the leading doctors in the world in biofeedback at the renown Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. In 1980, he co-founded the Drake Institute of Neurophysical Medicine. Seeking to better understand the link between illness and the mind, Dr. Velkoff served as the clinical director of an international research study on psychoneuroimmunology with the UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. This was a follow-up study to an earlier clinical collaborative effort with UCLA School of Medicine demonstrating how the Drake Institute's stress treatment resulted in improved immune functioning of natural killer cell activity. Dr. Velkoff served as one of the founding associate editors of the scientific publication, Journal of Neurotherapy. He has been an invited guest lecturer at Los Angeles Children's Hospital, UCLA, Cedars Sinai Medical Center-Thalians Mental Health Center, St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, and CHADD. He has been a medical consultant in Neurophysical Medicine to CNN, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Univision, and PBS.”

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