Primary Author: Sabrina Hossain | Secondary Author: Molly Christensen, NP
What Is Executive Dysfunction?
Executive dysfunction is a term for cognitive, emotional, and behavioral difficulties that often occur after injury to the brain’s frontal lobes. The frontal lobe is responsible for executive functioning, making it easy to plan, organize, solve, and regulate emotions. For people with ADHD, the function and structure of the prefrontal cortex are weaker. ADHDers struggle with controlling emotions, organizing, planning, and concentrating. Many people will view those who struggle with executive functioning as “lazy” or “incompetent.” That is a massive misconception as ADHDers, and others with executive dysfunction can’t operate the same way neurotypical individuals do.
Symptoms of Executive Dysfunction
Causes of Executive Dysfunction
- Chronic stress
- Anxiety disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Substance abuse disorders
Racial Impacts of Executive Functioning
Racial discrimination impairs executive functioning. Chronic stress is a typical response for BIPOC after experiencing racist encounters, which may be the cause of executing dysfunction specifically for the BIPOC community. A study done in 2020 by the Alzheimer’s Association reveals that Black women are 2.75 times more likely to experience cognitive dysfunction than women who experience lower levels of daily racism.
ReKlame Health Can Help
We need to understand that people struggle with executive dysfunction. It is best to support them with patience and compassion. Support can go a long way and help those in need. For those struggling, it is essential to know that dealing with executive dysfunction is challenging; there are ways to manage symptoms. Book an appointment with ReKlame Health today to get the care you need.
Diagnoses for Executive Dysfunction
Mental health professionals will not precisely diagnose executive dysfunction as it is not listed on the DSM-5. However, diagnosis of ADHD includes meeting the DSM-5 criteria, psychiatric interview, and an ADHD screening process.
Treatment for Executive Dysfunction
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Working to improve sleep habits
- Assistance in starting and maintaining an exercise regimen
- Medication management: Stimulant and non-stimulant medications
- Improving nutritional habits