ADHD in the Life of Women
October is ADHD month. A month dedicated to informing and educating the public about this disorder. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), also known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), is a common neurobehavioral disorder. The causes of ADHD are not fully known. The condition often comes about because of genetic or environmental factors. Additionally, premature birth, low birth weight, and complications during pregnancy can also predispose someone to ADHD. October is ADHD Awareness Month, created to help educate and inform about ADHD, including diagnosing and treating.
ADHD is underdiagnosed in women and girls. Boys are diagnosed with ADHD usually at a ratio of 2 to 1 as opposed to girls1. Many of the symptoms of ADHD in women and girls are frequently attributed to other conditions, such as depression and anxiety 2. Gender bias can also contribute to the misdiagnosed of ADHD in women and girls. A symptom of hyperactivity in women and girls, talkativeness, is frequently attributed to their social nature. Other characteristics of ADHD in women that may be perceived of as personality traits include:
- Poor time management
Life can feel overwhelming and even chaotic for someone with ADHD if left undiagnosed and untreated. For women with ADHD, daily life may feel frustrating, and even out of control at times. Disorganization and poor time management are common symptoms that can lead to missing major events, deadlines or due dates; task incompletion and/or procrastination creating chaos within the home. Their finances may be in such disarray that checks are bounced, and bills are forgotten and/or not paid. They are unable to manage everyday tasks such as laundry or meal preparation without stress. At work they may struggle to manage their job responsibilities and tasks.
Many women manage the symptoms of ADHD by working harder or overworking to compensate or fulfill their responsibilities. For these women relaxing and needed self-care become a challenge, so feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion become their “normal”. This results in anxiety, stress, burn out and even depression, making everyday life tough for women with ADHD. These women also become vulnerable to poor physical health, experiencing migraines, hypertension, obesity, and chronic pain.
For women with ADHD social activities may feel difficult and burdensome, as they become more demands of them. Conversations can feel challenging because of the inability to stay focused, and/or missed parts of conversations and information. Friendships may become too complicated to maintain. Because of poor time management and procrastination ADHD may impact the ability to be reliable in social situations and relationships as well.
Treatment for ADHD in women may include psychotherapy, medication treatment, exercise, sleep adjustments, and lifestyle changes in relationships and daily activities. Because many of the symptoms of ADHD are similar to and can mimic the symptoms of other conditions, a comprehensive evaluation is necessary to develop an effective treatment and intervention plan. If you or a women or girl, you love is experiencing symptoms you believe may be related to ADHD contact our office at 678-205-0838 or to schedule a comprehensive evaluation.
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Data and statistics about ADHD. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html. 2Quinn, P. O., & Madhoo, M. (2014). A review of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in women and girls: uncovering this hidden diagnosis. The primary care companion for CNS disorders, 16(3), PCC.13r01596. https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.13r01596
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