October is ADHD awareness month, so I thought this would be the right time to talk about how ADHD affects women. So much research has gone into the effects of ADHD in males, and this has led to boys getting a more accurate diagnosis than girls.
The problem is most scientific studies about ADHD symptoms focus on the “hyperactive” patterns, which are far more common in males. Since girls with ADHD show less hyperactive behaviour, they tend to go undiagnosed. As a result, their issues continue into adulthood.
ADHD Symptoms in Adult Women
Because young girls don’t show the same ADHD behaviours as boys, they tend to get misdiagnosed as having anxiety or depression. Subsequently, most women are not accurately diagnosed until they are well into their 30s or even 40s.
Here are some of the signs of ADHD in adult women:
- A low self-esteem
- Issues with time management
- Difficulty with money management
- Becoming overwhelmed easily
- A history of anxiety or depression
- Poor coping strategies (when it comes to daily stress)
- Compulsive overeating
- A dependence on drugs and alcohol
When it comes to treating ADHD in adult women, there are usually two ways to go: medication and therapy. While medication can’t cure ADHD, it can offer immediate relief of some symptoms, and that can make your life more bearable.
Psychotherapy and ADHD-focused coaching can provide you with life-management skills, coping strategies and build your self-esteem. I also advise many of my clients to join support groups to connect with other women who understand what they are going through. Often when we are dealing with mental health issues, we feel isolated and alone. Connecting with others in the same boat can do a lot for our recovery.
If you are a woman and think you may be suffering from ADHD, I encourage you to reach out to a mental health therapist. Life gets so much better when your ADHD symptoms are under control.