not just attention, not just mood, etc.

Stimulant medication helps with acceptance of noise in AD/HD study (pubmed abstract).  “Acceptance of noise” appears to basically mean “how much background noise you’re willing to put up with when listening to speech” and was initially coined to refer to how much background noise hearing-impaired people were willing to put up with in a hearing aid before refusing to use it at all.

(anecdote warning) When I first started a stimulant medication, I was floored by how calm I felt, but more surprised by how different sensory input was – it was like a bird passing overhead was a solid, coherent bird object, rather than a set of discoherent pictures.  Not on the level of vision, but on the level of attention.  The “background noise” was turned down.

This is one of those interesting things that doesn’t get much play in most peoples’ conceptions of mental disorders: ADHD is about being hyperactive and distractible, mood disorders are about mood, schizophrenia is about psychosis, etc.  All of those things are true (I mean, we do call them mood disorders etc for a reason), but mental disorders involve multiple systems, often in non-intuitive ways.  Depression and heart disease, for example, or schizophrenia and apathy.

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