ADHD with Over-Focused and Rigid Thinking

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Over-Focused and Rigid Thinking, Perseveration in ADHD

ADHD comes in different types, including an over-focused and rigid type that can be almost obsessive. We use the characters in the Winnie the Pooh stories to describe the different types of ADHD. The least flexible character in all of the stories has got to be Rabbit, so we use him to describe over focused, rigid, and "stuck" ADHD.

Rabbit Tends to His Garden... and don't bother him.

Rabbit can get a lot of things done, and he's the one character who will be prepared when winter comes, but he has a very hard time shifting from one activity to another. He is absolutely "task oriented" and is focused to whatever that task might be. In fact, he is so focused that he cannot shift to do other things easliy. He "perseverates". This is a characteristic of certain types of ADHD.

over focused adhdThe person with "Over-Focused ADHD" is much the same. He has trouble shifting attention from one activity to another, and he frequently "gets stuck" in loops of negative thoughts.

He can be obsessive, and very inflexible. He can also be oppositional and argumentative to parents. He may be like a "bull dog" and not give up until he gets his way, or until his worn-out parents finally say, "yes," to his 100th request for something. His parents are often worn-out, worn-down, fed-up, and ready to break.

Parenting a child like this is hard.

Dr Russell Barkley - ADHD "Hyperfocus"

Dr Russell Barkley, Ph.D giving a lecture on ADHD at The Centre for ADHD/ADD Advocacy Canada (CADDAC). To view the full-length lectures, visit

Someone who perseverates with "Over-Focused ADHD" is like Rabbit, in that he:

  • May worry a LOT, even over things that don't really matter much
  • Can be very oppositional to parents
  • May like to argue
  • May be somewhat compulsive about the way things ought to be done
  • Will have a very hard time shifting from one activity to another
  • Always wants to have his way

Dr. Daniel Amen and his team have used SPECT brain scans to look at this "over focused and rigid" type of ADHD. They found that the cause of this type of ADHD is an over-active Anterior Cingulate Gyrus. This part of the brain is over-active all of the time. And, to make things worse, when a "work load" is put on the brain, such as school work or a chore to be completed, there is the common ADHD symptom of decreased activity level in the Pre-Frontal Cortex.

In this type of ADHD some stimulants, and/or too much use of L-Tyrosine to increase dopamine production can actually make the problem of over-focus worse. So be careful. Antidepressants may be a better ADHD medication for this type of ADHD.

Alternative Treatment Strategies for Over-Focused ADHD

For those who would like to try an "alternative treatment for ADHD" to see if one might work before considering a trial of medication, we would recommend that you consider this strategy for over focused ADHD:

  • For best results, try our ADHD Eating Program for 45 days along with the nutraceutical medicines recommended below.
  • We also highly recommend using Essential Fatty Acid supplementation - Omega Oils - added to cold foods like salads. We recommend a combination of flax seed oil and primrose oil to get both Omega 3s and 6s. We no longer recommend fish oils.

300 mg of St. John's Wort is recommended per day for these children, and 600 mg per day for adults, along with 5-HTP, and B Vitamins. To provide this, and much more, we recommend for Over-Focused, or Rabbit style ADHD the following amino acid based, homeopathic medicines for adults. Children can take less.

  • ATTEND for ADHD symptoms, take only 2 capsules per day;
  • EXTRESS for symptoms of impulsivity, temper, restlessness, and anxiety take 4 to 6 capsules per day;
  • DEPREX for symptoms of worry, take 2 capsules per day;

ATTEND contains:

  • GABA,
  • DL-Phenylalyne,
  • Ginko,
  • Pycnogenol and Grape Seed Extracts,
  • 5-HTP,
  • pregnenolone,
  • DMAE,
  • and over 60 other important ingredients including essential fatty acids, lipid complexes, and homeopathic medicines.

See the ATTEND ingredients list here.


  • GABA,
  • DL-PA,
  • 5-HTP,
  • St. John's Wort.

DEPREX contains:

  • more GABA,
  • lots more DL-Phenylalyne,
  • 5-HTP,
  • and just 2 capsules of DEPREX contain 320 mg of St. John's Wort.

Together these three products give the best over-all combinations for the alternative treatment of "over-focused ADHD."

Back to "adhd DIFFERENT types" index

This book section: The Different Types of ADHD

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., MFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Tehachapi, CA who has been a counselor to children, teens, and adults helping them to overcome ADHD, find relief for depression or anxiety, and solve other problems in life since 1989. He served on the medical advisory board to the company that makes Attend and Extress from 1997 through 2011, and he is the Editor of the ADHD Information Library online resource at His weekly ADHD Newsletter goes out to 9,500 families. Visit his website at for more information on achieving greater health, personal growth, Christ-centered spirituality, stress management, parenting skills, ADHD, working out the stresses of being a care-giver to elderly parents and also being a parent to teenagers, or finding greater meaning in retirement years, Dr. Cowan can be a valuable resource to you.

Counselor counseling Tehachapi for ADHD, depression, anxiety, and more.

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., MFT
27400 Oakflat Dr.
Tehachapi, CA 93561
(661) 972-5953

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