ADHD and motivation problems

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Unfortunately, adults and children with ADHD are often labelled as lack of motivation, laziness, and even indifference. These negative labels are unfair and harmful.

This “immobility” or “sluggishness” usually reflects impaired executive function associated with ADHD, rather than simply laziness or lack of motivation. Understanding these injuries is important to correct misunderstandings about ADHD, which are often rampant.

This article discusses how ADHD affects motivation and how the symptoms of this condition are often incorrectly interpreted as laziness.

Watch now: Healthy Living Strategies for People with ADHD

ADHD and executive function

Defects in executive function affect a person’s ability to start, organize, and continue to complete tasks. An individual may even experience a sense of paralysis related to a task or project—want to start but not be able to make progress in any way.

What is ADHD paralysis?

Although people with ADHD are usually good at making quick decisions in the moment, they may have difficulty dealing with tasks that require organizing large amounts of information. People often feel trapped by too much information. It feels overwhelming, and figuring out how and where to start seems impossible.

This feeling of numbness can quickly lead to feelings of overwhelming, procrastination and avoidance, and ultimately lead to productivity problems.

It can also lead to negative reactions from others, who are confused and frustrated by the inconsistency of people with ADHD, when the task is stimulating and interesting, or when the task is novel and interesting but not performing well, the task is boring or repetitive.

Even if the person can start the task, it may be difficult for them to stay alert and stick to the job. Although they may know what they need to do to complete the task, although they try hard, they just can’t do it.

Boredom can cause various problems for children and adults with ADHD. When one’s attention is shifted to more interesting activities and ideas, it seems almost impossible to stay focused on boring tasks.

It may also happen that after repeated frustration, a child or adult with ADHD will start to feel unmotivated. It’s hard to be excited and hopeful about something and then collapse again and again.


Because ADHD can cause problems in starting, organizing, and persisting in performing tasks, people often feel bored or frustrated. Eventually, these patterns also began to affect the level of motivation.

Am I hyperactive or lazy?

When you can’t concentrate or can’t find the energy to get your work done, you may want to know if it is ADHD or other reasons. You may even wonder if you just feel lazy.

If you want to know if you have ADHD, you should consult your doctor for more information. Although this condition is most often diagnosed in childhood, it is sometimes underdiagnosed and may persist into adulthood.

Symptoms in boys tend to include more hyperactivity and impulsivity, and because these symptoms are more destructive, they are often diagnosed more frequently. However, girls and women with ADHD tend to have more symptoms of inattention. Because these symptoms are not obvious, this situation is often missed.

ADHD symptoms are often misunderstood

Because people with ADHD often have trouble staying focused and completing tasks, others sometimes mistakenly label this behavior as laziness. Unfortunately, people with this disease may also often internalize these tags, especially if they have not been accurately diagnosed.

Marking people with ADHD as “lazy” can lead to mental health stigma. It is important to realize that ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition caused by factors such as genetics, brain abnormalities, and exposure to environmental risks. The symptoms of ADHD are not caused by laziness.

Other factors affecting motivation

However, if you do not have ADHD and lack motivation, there may be other factors that make it difficult for you to concentrate and work efficiently:

  • Anxiety: If you feel anxious, you may feel restless and difficult to concentrate. This may mean that it is also difficult for you to persist in completing tasks and completing tasks, which may make it difficult for you to stay motivated.
  • Boredom: This may mean that you feel stuck in the routine and need to find some new strategies to gain motivation.
  • Depression: Depression usually causes symptoms such as avoidance, loss of interest, loss of motivation, memory difficulties, and difficulty concentrating.

If it is difficult for you to stay motivated, it may be worthwhile to talk to a doctor or therapist for further evaluation and advice.


Symptoms of ADHD are sometimes mistaken for laziness. If you are struggling with low motivation, it is important to find the source of the problem. ADHD may be a factor, but it may also be caused by another condition, such as depression or anxiety.


First of all, it is important to actively participate in the treatment of ADHD. Contact a doctor who is experienced in treating ADHD, and communicate your (or your child’s) symptoms publicly and regularly with them.

The treatment of ADHD depends largely on your symptoms and your personal needs. In many cases, it may include medications and behavioral interventions:

  • The drugs used to treat ADHD include stimulants, antidepressants, and non-stimulant ADHD drugs.
  • There are a variety of behavioral interventions that may be helpful, including parent training, school interventions, and learning interventions.

Interventions that focus on improving executive function can help increase motivation and productivity. Using strategies such as reward charts, daily schedules, and daily checklists can help people plan, organize, and perform tasks better.

How to improve motivation when suffering from ADHD

Finding ways to manage the symptoms of ADHD can help you become more motivated and increase productivity. Next time when you work hard to start or continue a task, try some of the following ideas:

  • Break the project into smaller, more manageable pieces
  • Delegate some tasks
  • exercise
  • Incorporate physical activity into your day
  • Reward yourself (or your child) for the small steps you take to achieve your goals
  • Set smaller goals
  • Set aside a short period of time (for example, 10 or 15 minutes) to work on activities that make you feel stuck

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ADHD can affect your motivation and make it more difficult for you to initiate and maintain tasks. When you have ADHD, it can be helpful to find strategies that will help you start and stay focused on heavy or boring tasks.

If you are concerned that your lack of motivation may be related to ADHD, please consider talking to your doctor. They can help determine which factors may affect your motivation level, whether it is ADHD or other causes, and suggest solutions that may help you get back on track.