We can loosely define hypofrontality as a decline in frontal lobe functioning and metabolism. It’s one of the major brain changes caused by an addiction process.
Hypo mean less than normal or deficient. Frontal refers to the frontal lobes, or prefrontal lobes. Alternately we can use the terms frontal cortex or prefrontal cortex also. However, cortex refers to the thin outer layer of densely packed nerve cells, which appears gray. Hypofrontailty means the the frontal lobes are underperforming. Simply put, addiction-related hypofrontality is a decline in executive functioning, For an addict, it’s an imbalance of power: cravings emanating from sensitized addiction pathways and a desensitized reward circuit overwhelm the weakened self-control systems (hypofrontality). In other words – your willpower has eroded.
In Unwiring & Rewiring Your Brain you can find more details on how hypofrontality fits into the wider world of learning and addiction.