Understanding the Inner CEO: Self-Regulation and ADHD

The frontal lobes are the biggest part of your brain and its main control centre. Their connections work as your brain’s CEO, the place where the intricate circuitry underlying the “executive functions”—the ability to accurately plan, execute, and most importantly, self-regulate—operates.

But what happens when things go awry?

We all vary in our self-regulation skills, one of the core executive functions. Spontaneity, playing it by ear, and not being overly organized, methodical, and detail-oriented can be a great approach to life, and a valued skill in unstructured or artistic settings. But when self-regulation is too low, problems begin to build up: uneven work performance, underachievement at school, a chaotic family life, or poor life choices due to impulsivity.

When problems with self-regulation affect performance at school or work, home, or social relationships it is best to seek help from an expert. Although they can have several sources, problems with self-regulation are a core feature of ADHD, a common childhood onset, treatable condition that runs in families.

But ADHD is not just a condition for kids.

According to Russell Barkley, a world expert on ADHD, 5 likely signs of adult ADHD1 include:

  • poor attention to detail and careless mistakes
  • organization problems
  • avoiding tasks involving mental effort
  • frequently losing things, and
  • distractibility.

Do you or someone you care about have ADHD?

Our Brain Health teams can help. With your doctor, we can identify ADHD, rule out other problems that look like ADHD (i.e., depression, neurological conditions) and help you find a treatment that works.