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Therapists have given the name “Executive Functioning Skills” to the capacity of individuals to manage the fundamental tasks of running one’s life, including:
- Inhibition (stop behavior at the appropriate time)
- Shift (move freely from one situation to another)
- Emotional Control (modulate emotional responses)
- Initiation (begin a task and generate ideas, responses and problem-solving)
- Working Memory (capacity to hold information to complete a task)
- Planning Organization (manage future task orientation)
- Organization of Materials (order to work, play and storage spaces); Self-Monitoring (monitor one’s own performance and measure against a standard).
Each of these Executive Functioning Skills can be necessary in order to navigate the complex society we have created. When overwhelmed with life’s requirements, anxiety prevails and an individual then “avoids,” which is often when addiction “sets-in” or a relapse occurs. Once the addiction is under control, learning to master these Executive Functions is necessary to prevent relapse from occurring again and again.