ADHD in Women

Posted by Sara Van Schyndel on

ADHD in women is beginning to come to the forefront of society. Every day more and more women are struggling and many of them are seeking answers as to why. One of the answers they are getting is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

ADHD is commonly known as a childhood diagnosis, while this is accurate, it is more often to be true in male children. The reasoning behind why most females are unaware they have ADHD until adulthood is because female children often slip through the cracks as they are able to mask their symptoms and they often present with the inattentive type opposed to hyperactive - therefore not being a disruption to the class or family life.  If females are so skilled at masking their symptoms, how do adult women become diagnosed?

The answer is quite simple, often adult females will seek a diagnosis after one or more of their own children have received the ADHD diagnosis. Most women have had some bells go off while researching ADHD on behalf of their children, and begin to think “hey! That sounds like me.” Mother’s will often express that they feel like they are in a constant state of overwhelm when beginning the discussion with their doctor and seeking a diagnosis. As women age and take on more roles: mother, employee, chef, chauffeur, maid etc they begin to find it more difficult to mask their symptoms and manage them when life's day to day demands keep piling up. 

There are often two ways women present with ADHD - they either often appear to have a life run by chaos or they are the individual who is burning the candle at both ends to get everything done. Either way both types of women will often describe their life as overwhelming and that they always feel exhausted. Female adults will often have conflicts at home, their partner will not understand their train of thought, the method to their madness so to speak, or how they can’t “stay on top of everything”.  Whereas a female neurotypical adult is often seen to be more patient, understanding and accepting of their partner's ADHD. 

Women’s research is significantly behind that of research geared towards men. However researchers have discovered that there is a large percentage of women who have coexisting conditions which exist alongside their ADHD. Some of those coexisting conditions/symptoms are as follows:

  • Compulsive overeating
  • Alcohol misuse or abuse
  • Chronic sleep deprivation
  • Dysphoria (unpleasant mood)
  • Major depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Obesity
  • Emotional dysregulation
    • Women are often more reactive than proactive
Women experience more psychological distress or unrest as well as have a negative view/low self image of themselves. 

Thankfully with ADHD becoming more accepted and recognized as a disorder that affects the female population as well as the male population, more females (of all ages) are getting diagnosed and seeking the treatment they need and deserve. 

Here are some of the treatment options recommended for females with ADHD, these treatment options can be implemented individually or combined for the best results. 

Treatment Options:
  • Medication
  • Psychotherapy
  • Stress Management
  • ADHD Coaching
  • Professional Organizing
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
**This is not an exhaustive list**

Overall if you or someone you know is struggling and can say “hey that sounds like me” after reading this post, the team at MyMMC strongly recommend that you reach out to your healthcare professional and investigate your symptoms. Who knows it could possibly change your life!