ADHD and Women
ADHD impacts both men and women, however gender stereotypes has led to many young girls and women going undiagnosed and their difficulties not accurately recognised, which creates a barrier to appropriate treatment and understanding. Women have often been diagnosed with other emotionally based psychiatric disorders such as mood disorder or anxiety and the ADHD that underpins the emotional impulsivity has often been overlooked.
According to DSM 5th edition, ADHD symptoms fall into three subtypes: predominantly hyperactive, predominantly inattentive, and combined type with the inattentive type being most common in girls and women. This is characterised by being disorganised, daydreaming, finding it hard to make decisions, feeling overwhelmed, starting but struggling to complete a task, and taking longer to process information.
Struggling to juggle the everyday demands of life. You may often feel you are barely coping and close to the edge.
You may become easily distracted by your own thoughts and appear to day dream, or become distracted by the environment around you. Consequently you find you have abandoned tasks midway etc.
Many women have developed coping mechanisms to deal with their challenges, at times leaving them feeling as if you are ‘acting’ at appearing competent. For some, they are able to ‘hold it together’ at work but then might feel things fall apart at home.
You struggle to keep things in mind and therefore need to keep lists.
Your time management may be poor, this can be due to poor planning and prioritising. The brain has to switch between NOW and NOT NOW.
Low Tolerance to Stress
Feeling flooded by emotions and struggling to regulate your feelings.
The need to keep moving and to keep active can lead to frustration when its not possible to do something immediately. Restlessness in adults moves away from hyperactive behaviours to an internal sense of restlessness i.e. anxiety.
This can lead to clutter, losing belongings, forgetting appointments, difficulty completing long projects, and difficulty in reaching a decision.