ADHD and Enthusiasm create a complex relationship in terms of how enthusiasm is expressed and managed. Enthusiasm to participate in and complete activities or tasks is a complex psychological process influenced by many factors, and people with ADHD often face unique challenges in this regard.
ADHD gives rise to intense bursts of enthusiasm and passion for things that are interesting. We become deeply engrossed in a particular activity or hobby, sometimes to the exclusion of other responsibilities. These bursts of hyperfocus often result in remarkable enthusiasm for a particular task but can result in the neglect of other important tasks. Time blindness is an added complexity as we schedule our “to do” list with enthusiasm and find we do not manage to do even half of what we had planned. We often feel like we fall short of the expectations of others, and it is hard to remain enthusiastic when even the most basic tasks seem a struggle to master. We may feel defeated quite soon into a new task because we believe that we will fail and disappoint others, even though we want more than anything to succeed.
Enthusiasm for a task or activity may seem good initially because of the impulsive nature of ADHD, but the challenge is to maintain the energy and focus throughout the task. This is particularly difficult with ADHD because of the executive functioning challenges which make it difficult to plan, organise, self-regulate, estimate duration, prioritise tasks, set goals, and stay motivated. ADHD is also associated with a heightened distractibility which can lead to a difficulty in remaining focused long enough to complete a task. These challenges can hinder the ability to channel enthusiasm effectively into achieving goals or completing tasks and can result in unfinished projects or a cycle of starting new interests without completing them.
Although these challenges can seem insurmountable due to past disappointments and bad experiences, they can be managed and overcome with the correct skill set. Enthusiasm can be harnessed and maintained in a positive way by setting achievable goals and working towards them effectively.