A New Understanding of ADHD in Children and Adults: Executive Function Impairments
by: Thomas E. Brown
A new model of ADHD proposed by Thomas Brown, Associate Director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders in Yale’s Dept. of Psychiatry, explains why individuals with ADHD can focus very well for a few specific activities that strongly interest them or which threaten imminent unpleasantness, even though they have chronic difficulties in focusing for most other tasks, including some they recognize as important.
Many who know persons with ADHD, even some professionals, assume that individuals with ADHD simply need to exercise “willpower” to make themselves apply their ability to focus in other areas where they need it. Brown uses research data to explain that ADHD is not due to lack of willpower any more than is erectile dysfunction. He presents recent research showing that ADHD impairments are actually due to problems in development of the brain’s management system, its executive functions.
- Why can those with ADHD focus very well on some tasks while having great difficulty in focusing on other tasks they recognize as important?
- How does brain development and functioning of persons with ADHD differ from others?
- How do impairments of ADHD change from childhood through adolescence and in adulthood?
- What treatments help to improve ADHD impairments? How do they work? Are they safe?
- Why do those with ADHD have additional emotional, cognitive, and learning disorders more often than most others?
- What commonly-held assumptions about ADHD have now been proven wrong by scientific research?
Utilizing recent neuroscience research, Brown’s new model of ADHD explains findings showing that persons with ADHD tend to suffer from:
- developmental delays in maturation of several critically important management areas of the brain;
- underdeveloped connections that link one brain region to another; and
- impairments in chemical dynamics of the brain.
His model also emphasizes that most of the cognitive functions impaired in ADHD operate with automaticity, without conscious control.
Dr. Brown’s website cab be reached at: DrThomasEBrown.com
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.