Mr Peter (fictional character), a 35-year-old single software professional has decided to bake a cake.
The sight and smell of a lovely chocolate cake fills his mind and waters his mouth.
Mr Peter also suffers from Adult ADHD. The big question which determines his ability to complete the task of baking a cake is his level of executive function – that is the “HOW” he goes about baking the cake.
The HOW he goes about a task is what executive function is all about.
Let us learn more about executive function in ADHD.
We know that in Adult ADHD, executive function difficulties are present to various degree.
We have seen music directors in Tamil movies with a wand and instructing their orchestra with highs and lows of waving the wand to produce the most soulful music. This orchestrating a wonderful piece of music requires a higher order function- the EXECUTIVE FUNCTION. Knowing when to quieten the flute to highlight the drums and so forth.
The main brain area that controls these executive functions is what is known as the FRONTAL LOBE. As the name indicates, the frontal lobe is in the front part of the brain.
Let us now go back to Mr Peter who is trying to bake that cake and think about the various steps involved.
The first step he would require is the WILL POWER – The motivation to start putting that cake together.
Next comes the PREPARATION phase. He has to make a list, make time in his schedule to buy the ingredients, measure them in right quantities, set out all that is required, remember the recipe instructions to bake that chocolate cake.
Third step is PERSISTENCE. The persistence to spend the time and energy to complete baking task all complete with the final touches.
Finally, PERSISTENCE IN PERFORMANCE. Keeping up with the task with the same persistence as he started, till the end.
Now these steps may be affected to various degrees in someone with an executive dysfunction as in ADHD.
Executive functions also include the following:
REMEMBERING REMEMBERING REMEMBERING
EMOTIONAL SELF CONTROL
THINKING AND PLANNING AHEAD
Now we also know that there are lower levels of neurotransmitters (which is a medical term for chemicals which act as communicators between brain cells) such as norepinephrine and dopamine in ADHD. Lower levels of these neurotransmitters are found in ADHD.
In the following blogs we will be looking at more into executive function in ADHD and other Adult ADHD related information.
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