Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 407–411

ADD/ADHD and impaired executive function in clinical practice


DOI: 10.1007/s11920-008-0065-7

Cite this article as:
Brown, T.E. Curr Psychiatry Rep (2008) 10: 407. doi:10.1007/s11920-008-0065-7


The disorder currently known as attention-deficit disorder (ADD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is now recognized by most clinicians as a legitimate and widely prevalent disorder among children and adults. Yet there is still widespread misunderstanding as to the disorder’s nature. Many clinicians mistakenly continue to think of this as a behavior disorder characterized by hyperactivity in children and excessive restlessness or impulsivity in adults. In fact, ADD/ADHD is essentially a cognitive disorder, a developmental impairment of executive functions (EFs), the self-management system of the brain. Although EFs are complex, their impairment constitutes a syndrome that can be recognized readily in clinical practice; impaired EF involves a pattern of chronic difficulties in executing a wide variety of daily tasks. Once recognized, this disorder can be effectively treated in most cases. In this article, I describe the nature of EF impairments in ADD/ADHD and how the syndrome can be recognized and effectively treated in clinical practice. (Note: The term ADHD is used in the balance of this article to refer to both inattentive and combined subtypes.)

Copyright information

© Current Medicine Group LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale Clinic for Attention and Related DisordersYale University School of MedicineHamdenUSA

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