Russell A. Barkley’s Behavioral Inhibition Disorder, An Alternative to ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition implicated in discussions and controversy, in which the scientific community itself differs both in symptoms and in treatment, and even in some areas the existence is called into question.

Psychologist Russell A. Barkley, created an alternative explanatory model called behavioral inhibition disorder, Which highlights the role of care in ADHD and what will be discussed throughout this article.

    What is Behavior Inhibition Disorder?

    Behavioral Inhibition Disorder is an explanatory model created by American psychologist Russell A. Barkley, whose intention was to constitute it as an alternative to the label of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

    This alternative explanatory model of ADHD it revolves around executive function known as response inhibition. The main benefit of behavioral inhibition disorder, according to Barkley, is that it copes much better with symptoms associated with the ADHD subcategories: hyperactive and combined.

    To better understand this model, the term executive function is described below.

      executive functions

      Executive functions correspond to the terms used in neuropsychology. This phrase refers to all the cognitive skills that a person turns to when their efforts are aimed at achieving success or a goal.

      These executive functions are essential for managing cognitive, emotional and behavioral processes. that allow the person to respond to any situation. Likewise, these are essential to performing most of the tasks and functions that a person must perform throughout the day; especially actions that involve planning, decision making, problem solving, self-control and emotional regulation.

      The processes mentioned in the term “executive function” can be subdivided into two groups: basic functions and functions derived from them. These functions are:

      • The basic functions: response inhibition, cognitive flexibility and working memory.
      • Derived functions: planning and organization.

      The role of behavior inhibition

      Of all the executive functions that human beings perform, Barkley Focuses On Inhibitory Behavior, By giving it a crucial role in the creation of its own explanatory model of ADHD.

      Behavior inhibition means the suspension of a response or series of behaviors that the person has internalized or learned previously and which are usually automatic. The purpose of this inhibition or confinement is to solve any type of problem or task.

      The function of the inhibition of the response consists in, in the face of the appearance of which stimulus, to suspend certain behavior or action and replace it with another succession of acts or responses. Another option is to delay this sequence of actions over time until the person realizes that it is the right time to perform them.

      Barkley’s explanatory model

      In his book “ADHD and the Nature of Self-Control”, published in 1997, Barkley devoted himself to structuring all the information about ADHD collected over 25 years of study and is the explanatory basis for behavior inhibition disorder.

      Barkley assumes that the symptoms associated with ADHD can be divided into three groups or genders. These categories are: hyperactivity, impulsivity and attention deficit. However, Barkley only considers hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Barkley alleges that viewing attention as a major symptom of this disorder can lead to treatment error.

      Also, within the framework of the executive functions mentioned above, Barkley highlights the task of response inhibition. In addition he studies how this can exert a series of harmful effects on the other functions, which are subordinate to it to be able to develop correctly,

      The following shows the relationship between behavioral inhibition and other executive functions and the symptoms it causes as a result of this interference:

      1. Alterations in non-verbal working memory

      Behavioral inhibition also causes problems with information representation and transformation deficiencies in the ability to anticipate future actions and time management difficulties.

      2. Verbal working memory problems

      In this case, the verbal working memory and the internalization of speech are seriously affected. The main associated symptoms include obstruction of the ability to think, problems with following rules and integrating regulated behaviors, decreased ability to solve problems, Deficiencies in reading comprehension and deficits in moral reasoning.

      3. Deficits in emotional and motivational self-regulation

      Problems in the ability to express feelings and emotions, which become too disproportionate; deficiencies in the perception of the other’s point of view and alterations in the regulation of motivation are typical symptoms caused by behavioral inhibition in people with ADHD.

      4. Defects of reconstitution

      Finally, the person may also encounter obstacles in the conduct of behavioral analysis and summary procedures; as good as deficits in the ability to imitate, copy, or reproduce behaviors and a lesser variety of action strategies to solve problems or achieve a goal.

      The function of attention

      As mentioned above, Barkley eliminates the effect of attention as a major factor or agent in the behavioral inhibitory disorder model.

      However recognizes the existence of two types of care. This attention which is controlled from the outside by means of immediate reinforcements and the attention which comes from and controls the own person from the inside, who needs the inhibition of the running behaviors and is more effective in achieving goals at long term.

      In this way, Barkley accepts that care is also included in his model but that it is contingent on other factors and that everyone diagnosed with ADHD has difficulty in caring from within.

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