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What are the signs of executive dysfunction?

What are the signs of executive dysfunction?

Published: Mar. 23, 2023

Executive dysfunction occurs when a person has difficulties managing their behaviors, thoughts, and emotions that are needed for everyday, self-driven activities. Since executive function involves a number of processes, executive dysfunction can look different in everybody.

Here are some examples of what difficulties with executive functioning may look like:

  • Being very distractible or having trouble focusing on just one thing
  • Focusing too much on just one thing
  • Daydreaming or “spacing out” instead of paying attention (such as during a conversation, meeting, class, etc.)
  • Having trouble planning or carrying out a task due to an inability to visualize the finished product or goal
  • Having difficulty motivating oneself to start a task that seems difficult or uninteresting
  • Struggling to move from one task to another
  • Getting distracted or interrupted partway through a task, thus misplacing items or losing the train of thought
  • Having problems with impulse control
  • Struggling with thinking before you talk
  • Having trouble explaining your thought process clearly because you understand it in your head, but putting it into words for others feels overwhelming

For more information on this topic, check out our article Executive Functioning 101.

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