Women with ADHD are often overlooked when they are young girls and, unfortunately, are not typically diagnosed with the disorder until they are adults. Frequently, women come to recognize their own ADHD after one of her children have been diagnosed with it. As she learns more about ADHD, she begins to see many similar patterns in herself. Many women seek treatment for ADHD because their lives are out of control. Their finances may be in chaos, they may struggle unsuccessfully to keep up with the demands of their jobs, their paperwork and record-keeping are often poorly managed, and they may feel even less able to keep up with the daily tasks of meals, laundry, and life management. Other women are more successful in hiding their ADHD, valiantly struggling to keep up with increasingly difficult demands by working into the night and spending their free time trying to "get organized." But whether a woman's life is clearly in chaos or whether she is able to hide her struggles, she often describes herself as feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Other symptoms include compulsive overeating, alcohol abuse, chronic sleep deprivation, dysphoria (unpleasant mood), major depression, and anxiety disorders. Additionally, women with ADHD appear to experience more psychological distress and have lower self-image than men with ADHD. ADHD therapies for women typically include focus on improving self-esteem, interpersonal and family issues, daily health habits, daily stress levels, and life management skills. Such interventions are often treated with Cognitive Behavior Therapy, which focuses on the psychological issues of ADHD (ex. self- blame, self-acceptance, self-esteem), and sometimes includes the Cognitive Rehabilitation Approach focuses on life management skills, which is intended to improve cognitive functions (ex. remembering, reasoning, understanding, problem solving, evaluating, and using judgment). It is most helpful for women with ADHD to work with a professional to develop better life and stress management strategies. Additionally, there are things you can do at home to help reduce the impact of your ADHD.
Seek structure and support from family and friends. Understand and accept your ADHD challenges instead of judging and blaming yourself. Create an ADHD-friendly family that cooperates and supports one another. Schedule daily time outs for yourself.
Develop healthy self-care habits, such as getting adequate sleep and eating right. It is important that women with ADHD receive an accurate diagnosis that addresses both symptoms and other important issues with functioning and impairment, which will help determine appropriate treatment and strategies.