incredible-marketing Arrow

Am I Struggling With Executive Dysfunction?

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by the number of small steps in a task that you cannot start or complete the task? What about forgetting your coffee in the microwave after heating it? These are two examples of executive dysfunction. This problem can make day-to-day tasks more difficult to complete. If you’ve wondered what executive dysfunction is or what the symptoms look like, please read on.

Defining Executive Dysfunction

To understand executive dysfunction, we must first understand what executive function means. A 2015 article published in Continuum: Lifelong Learning in Neurology defines executive function as “…[A] constellation of cognitive abilities that enable and drive adaptive, goal-oriented behavior. These include the ability to generate thought and think flexibly, to update and manipulate information mentally, to inhibit what is irrelevant to current goals, to self-monitor, and to plan and adjust behavior as appropriate to the present context.” With this in mind, we can define executive dysfunction as the inability to start and complete goal-driven behaviors due to impaired cognitive abilities.

The four cognitive components involved in executive functioning include working memory, inhibition, set shifting, and fluency. Issues with any combination of the cognitive components can cause executive dysfunction. These issues present most commonly in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dissociative disorders, and anxiety disorders.

Looking at the Symptoms

A person with executive dysfunction may experience a variety of symptoms. These include the following:

  • Struggles with planning and keeping track of future events
  • Difficulties regulating emotions and impulses
  • Problems focusing on a single task
  • Inability to keep track of items when they aren’t physically visible
  • Hyperfixation on a single topic
  • Problems starting or completing tasks
  • Difficulties switching tasks
  • Trouble problem-solving
  • Inability to process new information

These symptoms can cause issues in workplaces, schools, or even at home. If you’re coping with them, you might feel like your brain shorts circuits sometimes. You could watch other people perform tasks without any issues and get frustrated with yourself. When you’re comparing yourself to others, it’s easy to slip into self-defeating behaviors like substance use. It might temporarily ease your discomfort, but it can quickly turn into a full-blown substance use disorder (SUD). Before you go down that path, you should seek out help.

As mentioned above, executive dysfunction typically occurs in individuals with neurodivergence and mental illnesses. If you exhibit many or most of these symptoms, you should consider seeking assistance before you fall into self-defeating behaviors. If you’re already struggling with self-defeating behaviors, you also need to get help. In either case, The Guest House can help you handle your mental health issues. As a patient, we provide you with a comprehensive examination to ensure you receive the proper care. With our help, you can start healing today. Call us at (855) 483-7800.