Think of your brain like a company. Different parts of your brain have different functions in the same way that different employees of a company have different roles to play in the day-to-day operation of the business. You can imagine, for example, a division of language processing, a sensory input team, and an office of motor reflexes. Each part of the brain contributes to the overall operation of the “company” that is your body and your consciousness. And just like most companies, your personal company has a leader—an executive, if you will.
Just like a director or a chief executive officer, the executive in charge of things in your brain has certain key functions for which it is responsible. When your executive function is meeting expectations, things are generally good. But when your executive function becomes disordered, a range of issues may arise—in just the same way that an ineffective executive in a company can bring a whole operation down.
Let’s take a look at disordered executive function (or executive dysfunction) and the ways in which it can upend the smooth operations you rely on each day.
The Keys to the C-Suite
In business jargon, “C-suite” refers to the collection of offices and officers that represents a company’s leadership team. Often, these leaders have the word “chief” in their title—chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief information officer, and the like—thus the “C” in “C-suite.”
But for the purposes of our extended metaphor, think of the C as standing for “cognitive.” When your executive function is disordered, it is akin to losing the key to your cognitive suite of operations. The mental difficulties that accrue when your personal C-suite goes offline include:
- Difficulty making plans
- Trouble organizing systems
- Challenges related to focus and time management
- Difficulty processing and/or analyzing information or remembering important details
- Trouble addressing problems as they arise
- Challenges related to attending to more than one task or issue at a time
- Difficulty regulating emotions and/or behavior
That list, of course, features some foundational activities and ideas that allow us to navigate the world successfully. If you can’t concentrate or plan or organize or respond to problems, making your way in the world is exceptionally challenging. And those challenges are amplified if you cannot manage your emotions or your behavior consistently and effectively.
In the world of business, an executive who loses the ability to function effectively at the head of a company can count on losing their gig. Most boards of directors have little or no patience for executives who are failing to lead their company to ever-increasing levels of prosperity. If the bottom line does not look rosy, the quest for new leadership begins quickly.
But you can’t fire your executive function. Instead, you have to get to the bottom of what is causing the problems you are experiencing and then find a way to effectively manage or overcome that cause.
Your Executive is Up for Review
Getting to the bottom of the problem of disordered executive function can be challenging, because there are a variety of things that might account for the symptoms you are experiencing. It may, for example, be wise to see a medical doctor who can perform neurological exams to look for causes of executive dysfunction.
But for many people, executive dysfunction can be traced to mental health or behavioral disorders. Addressing these sorts of disorders can go a long way toward resetting your executive function and alleviating the symptoms you have been experiencing.
Among the disorders that can contribute to disordered executive function are:
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
When those sorts of issues are the culprits in question, treatments such as talk therapy, medication, or a combination of the two can be effective approaches to reclaiming the kind of executive function you need to succeed in the various areas of your life.
Think of Us as an Executive Training Organization
At Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health, we have the expertise and experience necessary to identify and address issues related to executive dysfunction. If you are struggling with any or all of the issues we have identified above, the time to take action is right now. We can help you work toward improved mental well-being and provide you with strategies and resources for maintaining those gains. Every executive benefits from surrounding themselves with top-notch people in their field. In the field of behavioral health, we are the advisors who can help you succeed.