A more appropriate name for ADHD would be EFDD, or executive function deficit disorder. - Dr. Russell Barkley

Executive functions are more than just a buzzword going around in the ADHD world, they are in fact inseparable from the condition itself. So much is this the case that Dr. Russell Barkley claims a more appropriate name for the condition would be EFDD, or executive function deficit disorder.

Howbeit, implementing such a change at this point would be no easy feat, given the myriad of entitlements, science, and legislation build up around the incumbent name of ADHD.

In a recent interview with Attention Talk Radio, Dr. Barkley described six key symptoms of executive function deficits that manifest themselves in ADHD patients. These include:

  • Poor self-restraint and high impulsivity.
  • Poor self-awareness.
  • Difficulty using hindsight (the ability to visualize a past situation).
  • Lack of or poor use of an internal monologue (resulting in difficulty self-soothing emotional responses or considering the consequences of their actions).
  • Difficulty with the self-regulation of emotions (leading to inappropriate social behaviors).
  • Challenges with mental play (internal information manipulation used in problem solving).

You may have recognized many of these symptoms or behaviors in your own ADHD (or your child’s), but now you know what to attribute them to.

Luckily, Dr. Barkley also puts forth six quick tips and tricks to deal with these executive function impairments/deficits:

  • Don’t rely on working memory – use externalized systems like notes, reminders, or apps instead.
  • Externalize your internal clock – use timers and visual reminders to help you stay on track and on time.
  • Stop utilizing intrinsic motivation – create rewards and consequences for yourself ahead of time rather than relying on yourself to get things done.
  • Turn projects into smaller more manageable chucks
  • Solve problems using manual methods with filing cards, programs, and apps.
  • Lastly, re-fuel your executive function tank. Take time to exercise, meditate, and train your executive functions so you’re fresh going into your next task.


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