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Why It's Harder to Move On with ADHD: The Role of Hyper-fixation



Moving on from past experiences, relationships, or even minor interactions can be challenging for anyone. However, individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often find this process even more daunting. A significant reason behind this struggle is the concept of hyper fixation, a common symptom of ADHD. This article delves into the unique challenges faced by those with ADHD in moving past previous events and how hyper fixation plays a central role.

Understanding Hyper-fixation

Hyper fixation is an intense concentration or obsession with a particular subject, activity, or thought. While it can lead to productive periods of work or creativity, it also has a darker side, especially when the focus is on negative or unchangeable aspects of the past. For those with ADHD, hyper fixation is not just a fleeting interest but a profound engagement that can disrupt daily functioning and emotional well-being.

The Link Between ADHD and Hyper-fixation

ADHD is characterised by a range of symptoms, including impulsivity, restlessness, and difficulty maintaining attention. However, the disorder can also cause individuals to experience hyper focus, a state of deep concentration. While hyper-focus and hyper fixation are not identical, they share similarities, particularly in their intensity and potential for disruption.

When someone with ADHD becomes hyper fixated on past events, they may replay conversations, imagine different outcomes, or stew over what they perceive as mistakes. This intense focus can make it difficult to let go and move forward.

The Impact of Hyper-fixation on Moving On


The impact of hyper-fixation on an individual's ability to move on from the past can be profound:


Emotional Toll

Hyper fixation can lead to increased anxiety, depression, and stress. The constant rumination over past events can exacerbate feelings of guilt, shame, or sadness, making it harder for individuals to focus on the present or future.


Interference with Daily Life

When someone is caught up in their past, it can interfere with their ability to complete daily tasks, maintain relationships, or pursue new opportunities. This can lead to a cycle of regret and fixation that is hard to break.


Difficulty in Making New Memories

Hyper fixation on the past can prevent individuals from making new memories or experiencing joy in current moments. This can lead to a feeling of being stuck or trapped in a bygone time.


Strategies for Moving On

While hyper fixation can make it difficult to move on, there are strategies that can help individuals with ADHD break free from the past:

  • Mindfulness and Meditation: Practices like mindfulness can help individuals stay grounded in the present moment, reducing the tendency to ruminate on past events.

  • Structured Routines: Creating a structured daily routine can help individuals with ADHD reduce the likelihood of hyper fixation by keeping their minds engaged and focused on the present.

  • Professional Support: Coaching and therapy can be effective in helping individuals understand and change patterns of thought and behaviour that lead to hyper fixation.

  • Healthy Distractions: Engaging in hobbies, exercise, or social activities can provide positive distractions and help individuals focus on the present.

  • Journaling: Writing about thoughts and feelings can help individuals process their emotions and reduce the intensity of their fixation on past events.


For individuals with ADHD, moving on from the past can be particularly challenging due to the tendency to hyper fixate on previous experiences. Understanding the role of hyper fixation in ADHD is crucial for recognising why letting go can be so hard. By employing strategies to reduce hyper-fixation and seeking professional help, individuals with ADHD can learn to focus more on the present and future, rather than remaining stuck in the past.

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