The impact of inattention can mean that an individual with ADHD will struggle to concentrate for very long. Attention can sometimes be enhanced with very high levels of reward or reinforcement. Online gaming, for example, provides high levels of immediate reward that can promote concentration. Paying attention at school or work is often more difficult as the reward is less obvious and less immediate. However, inattention is very hard to control and at times individuals with ADHD will struggle even in the presence of rewards and motivation. Individuals are also often distracted by external stimuli or may daydream.
These are the symptoms of inattention from the DSM-5:
- Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or with other activities.
- Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities.
- Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
- Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g. loses focus, side-tracked).
- Often has trouble organising tasks and activities.
- Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
- Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g. school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).
- Is often easily distracted
- Is often forgetful in daily activities