What are Executive Functions?

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It’s likely that you’ve heard that those who suffer from ADHD suffer from significant issues dealing with executive issues, and you could be unsure of what this means. My initial knowledge of administrative tasks resulted from my learning to execute and interpret neuropsychological tests. This kind of test aims to dissect executive processes into smaller components that include set-shifting the switching of attention, Buy Adderall Online response initiating and inhibition, perseverance, as well as continuous and split attention.

As a researcher and clinical care with older adults for a few years, I started to notice that everyday tasks became more difficult when cognitive impairment/dementia was present. In many cases, executive functions are among the first evident changes in cognitive impairment. It can affect activities as diverse as cooking cleaning, washing or personal hygiene, knowing how much groceries to purchase as well as managing food in the fridge, throwing it away when something is not working, or even knowing what to put in the garbage and recycling bins, as well as recalling the exact time and date to dispose of to be collected. Although there are government-funded programs to help seniors with dementia with a variety of daily tasks like cooking and cleaning however, they do not exist for those who suffer from ADHD who might be facing similar challenges.

As I began working more with adults who suffer from ADHD I needed to adjust my understanding of executive functions with the kind of issues an adult who is cognitively healthy with ADHD could face. It was a process of learning and I’m still learning.

Metaphors for Understanding Executive Functioning

Many metaphors are available to describe executive functions. Below are three metaphors that I like the most.

The Manager or CEO The Executive Functions are often considered to be the CEO or manager of an organization. They are accountable for taking plans, making decisions, setting goals, resolving problems and making sure all operations run smoothly.

The Conductor of the Orchestra 

Like like a conductor who guides and coordinates different instruments in an orchestra to produce harmonious sounds, these executive roles help guide and coordinate various mental processes to assist us achieve our goals efficiently.

In the Chef’s kitchen Chefs must multi-task, control time, plan menus and stay on top of the menu under stress. Executive functions are akin to the mental chef. They ensure that all the elements of action and thought come together in a perfectly-prepared’meal. ‘

Particular Executive Tasks, with examples

In order to be more specific, I’ve made an executive function list below that I consider vital for my clients that I’ve identified as follows:

Working Memory

It’s like a notepad for your mind that you use to write down details that you’ll need to recall for a short period of time. As when you attempt to find a telephone number that is long enough to call it. This is applicable to non-verbal as well as verbal (visual) data.

Cognitive Flexibility lets you adjust the changes that occur in your environment effectively. However, mental rigidity could cause you to perform actions rigidly that are not learning and being able to adapt to your environment.

Inhibitory Control

Your brain’s ability to ward off impulsive behavior and assists you in thinking before taking action. The ability to control your impulses can lead to behavior like spending too much or eating, or even verbal behavior like sharing too much or expressing your beliefs to the disadvantage of other people (or your own self).

Emotional Self-Regulation: Those who suffer from ADHD typically have trouble in dealing with negative, impulsive feelings. Also, it means a higher probability of being easily triggered however the negative component is typically the one that causes the most harm.


Prospective Memory

It’s a sort of mental calendar and a list of things to do combination. Prospective Memory assists you in remembering that you need to take care of things in the near future, like getting the bin out on a Tuesday or calling a friend to celebrate their birthday. It’s like setting tiny mental alarms to remind you of future activities and events.

Monitoring and Time Estimation are linked to the future Memory and is the brain’s internal clock as well as a stopwatch. Time estimation can help you assess your time, the length of your tasks will take, and helps you decide how you can allocate your time efficiently. Monitoring helps you keep track of time and lets you alter your pace and remain in the loop.

Hindsight and Forethought :

Hindsight can be described as looking through the rearview mirror. It allows you to learn from previous experiences and see how you can have changed. Forethought however is like looking through a lens towards the future. It helps you predict outcomes and create plans that are based on possible scenarios. It’s all about turning experience into action to improve your future behavior.

Now imagine a few of these issues occurring simultaneously all day long, throughout a person’s life. This is what’s meant when we talk about executive function issues. It can cause life to be difficult. It’s also not something that can be solved in the long run by simply striving to work harder. It’s not a motivating issue in the sense that motivation itself is an issue for ADHD (I may have included it in the list ). ).

Executive Functioning Deficits are a Real Brain Phenomenon

External strategies can help improve executive functioning issues however they must be done with a lot of effort. The ability to manage administrative tasks doesn’t get better with time to levels that a neurotypical individual might experience. It’s similar to expecting a person who is shortsighted to recover their vision after hours of straining and squinting to perceive. While glasses can reduce shortsightedness, when they take them off, you’re left with the same problems, just as occurs in the case of executive function problems after the treatment (medication and strategies) ceases.

Someone who has difficulty in their work because of executive dysfunction isn’t being a burden, lazy or an obnoxious person who is a slob. They’re dealing with an inherent brain disorder and so is a person suffering from dementia. For those with ADHD, Buy Adderall ADHD is not an illness that is degenerative like dementia is. Treatment can greatly improve symptoms over the entire lifespan.

Professional ADHD scientist and psychologist Doctor. Russell Barkley shares his knowledge of executive functions: What is Executive Function? 7 Deficits Tied to ADHD

Clinical psychologist Dr. Thomas E. Brown talks about executive function: The Adult ADHD Mind Connecting Executive Functions

What Is Executive Dysfunction? Signs and Symptoms of EFD

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