Understanding the Symptoms of ADHD in Women

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a condition where a person is inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive. But the symptoms of this disease differ for every individual. ADHD does not happen to children alone. Adults can also have it.

Most of the time symptoms are seen at a young age. However, some people do not discover their ADHD until they are already adults. Women are particularly prone to this late discovery because women’s ADHD symptoms are less visible compared to men.

Adults with ADHD find it hard to manage their time, be organized, set goals, or keep a job. These reasons are why women might discover their ADHD later than men. The society expects women to be a picture of perfection, elegance, and gracefulness. Women are required to be the organized person in the room, and when a girl with ADHD finally has to face these expectations, it can trigger her tendencies and make her feel hopeless.

The expectations of society to women make it hard for them to conquer ADHD. They are faced with the challenge of keeping up with everything the world expects them to be or to do when they can’t even yet face their disorder. Even when using supplements to manage ADHD, things tend to be quite difficult.

Symptoms of ADHD in women can be noticed even at a young age. For example, a child who can’t seem to sit still or complete her schoolwork can be one of the indications they have the condition. Children with this kind of condition also tend to be overly emotional and might say inappropriate comments. These symptoms are under the hyperactive-impulsive form of ADHD.

Inattentive ADHD symptoms are forgetfulness, lack of focus, daydreaming, and difficulty with organization. According to experts, girls with ADHD belong to the inattentive type while boys are more of hyperactive-impulsive types of ADHD. However, there are still some who are exemptions to these rules.

Being a woman with ADHD is difficult especially if you are already married and are starting your own family. You now have a big responsibility on your shoulder. With your ADHD, facing those responsibilities may be a lot harder than otherwise, but always remember that nothing is ever impossible.

Opening up to your family and friends about your condition will make everything much easier. They will realize how difficult it is for you and will support you by resetting their expectation to something more realistic.

Hiring a professional to help you organize or work can also help you get started with conquering your condition. This way, you won’t miss anything because you will always have an assistant by your side.

Yes, Women Can Have ADHD Too

When it comes to public understanding of any mental or developmental illness, people who struggle with said illness may find themselves surprised (or really, not surprised) by how little others actually know. It can be frustrating, but even more than that; it can be harmful – particularly if the ignorance is being spewed by someone in a position of authority or power, like a doctor.

Being invisible within the ADHD demographic – as per general understanding – is one struggle women with ADHD uniquely face. While all adults with ADHD tend to run into someone or another (or many) that doesn’t seem to realize that yes, adults struggle with ADHD and it’s not just children, women, in particular, are often met with more incredulity when disclosing their condition than men.

Case in point, research even shows that although it appears that both females and males equally find themselves struggling with the illness (this study, in particular, did stick to the binary gender system); women are less likely to actually be diagnosed. It’s suggested that this is due to the fact that guidelines surrounding the diagnostic criteria have historically focused more on males.

That, of course, is majorly problematic – not just because it means women are more likely to get a reaction of confusion or disbelief from the odd person, but because it means myths surrounding the illness even exist within the system designed to help those with the disorder. How can women expect to have their disability taken seriously by any person within the general public if a doctor can’t even get it right?

Quick answer: They should be able to. Genitalia shouldn’t get to determine the validity of an individual’s disclosure of having ADHD.

What can be noted, however, is that there’s research to suggest that women experience ADHD symptoms different than men – which is why, among other reasons, the ADHD guidelines being focused on males has been deemed problematic. If doctors don’t know the symptoms that uniquely affect women with ADHD, then they can’t diagnose properly, and misdiagnosis or lack of diagnosis can lead to adverse circumstances that should have been avoidable.

One study from 2005 found, for instance, that women tend to experience separation anxiety disorder at higher rates than men, while men tend to more often struggle with conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder. Women also tend to be more likely to struggle with symptoms such as disorganization, forgetfulness, introversion, and depression than hyperactivity and impulsivity. Depression is one common misdiagnosis for women with ADHD.

Different symptoms and manifestations of the disorder in women call for different treatments and methods of care. Gender differences, if applicable, need to be taken into account when treating an individual with ADHD – a statement that is backed by many top researchers and professionals that treat the disorder.
So, while it may not be as widely understood or accepted as the picture of the hyperactive young boy acting out in school, women with ADHD do exist. If you the reader out there is a woman with ADHD, you’re not alone – and your struggle is valid.

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