Attention Deficit HyperActivity Disorder affects more males than females. However, it is more common for females to go undiagnosed. This can mean unnecessary suffering for girls and women.
Take a minute to consider these statements:
A middle school girl has trouble doing her work in class. She tells her mother, “I read the question, hear the person next to me breathing, and think about the sandwich I’m going to eat at lunch. I worry I don’t know the answer, so I have to then reread the question again.”
A college student stays awake for days to finish projects. She often uses alcohol and other drugs to ease her frustration. She uses manipulative behavior to keep friends, but loses many relationships. She fears finding out “something is really wrong with me” and tries to cover up what she perceives as her shortcomings. She does whatever it takes to prove she’s like everybody else.
An otherwise successful 30-something feels as though she’s constantly being judged as scattered, disorganized, inept, flighty or late.
A high school senior judges herself harshly. She feels like a failure because she has to work so hard to focus on tasks that others seemed to breeze through. Assignments take her longer to complete and she misses details of the requirements because she must reread the materials often.
A recent college graduate hoped her struggle to stay focused would end after she left the stress of college. However, she’s found her problem has continued into her new life at her first job.
A busy wife and mom finds it tiring trying to keep up with her “to do” list. She worries because her memory seems to fail her. Completing tasks are difficult for her. She lives in fear of ‘messing up’.
It is not uncommon for women like these to have a child who exhibits signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Often when the mother receives an initial ADHD evaluation questionnaire to complete on behalf of the child, she finds herself able to say “yes” to the answers for herself and her child.
Many parents seeking help for their children suddenly recognize the same symptoms in themselves. Until going through the process with their child they may have never connected what they experience to ADHD. In turn, they didn’t realize there’s anything they could do to change it.
For that reason, I routinely screen my parents of kids with ADHD for symptoms since the proverbial apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.Should you talk to your doctor about ADHD? Take this ADHD survey!
Impact of ADHD in Women
The impact ADHD has on an adult’s life can manifest quite differently from that of a child. Women who have ADHD may find themselves in any number of the following situations.
- – Her finances may be in chaos.
- – Often her paperwork and record keeping are poorly managed.
- – Often she feels like her life is out of control.
- – Her self-esteem is badly bruised.
- – Her self-image may be poor.
- – She may struggle unsuccessfully to keep up with the demands of her job.
- – To keep up with the increasing demands, she may work into the night and spend free time trying to “get organized.”
- – She often feels overwhelmed and exhausted.
- – She may feel less able to keep up with daily life management tasks, e.g. laundry, errands and meals.
- – She struggles to turn intentions into actions often.
- – She may have an unpleasant mood.
- – She may have sleep deprivation.
- – She may experience compulsive eating or drinking.
- – She may be at risk for fibromyalgia, anxiety and other stress-related conditions.
The Price Women Pay
The stress living with ADHD creates can be quite higher for women than men, as women tend to bear more responsibility for caring for their home and children.
Chronic stress takes its toll on women with ADHD, affecting them both physically and psychologically. This increased stress puts them more at risk for diseases related to chronic stress such as fibromyalgia, anxiety and depression.
Therefore, it is a significant public health concern. It’s imperative that appropriate identification and treatment of ADHD in women take place soon after it is suspected.
Helping Women Identify Their ADHD
Prescriptions for Enlightening Paths takes a ‘complete person’ approach to diagnosing ADHD. We review your medical history, obtain comprehensive medical, social and education histories, prescribe appropriate laboratory studies and administer a Harvard University Adult ADHD screening test.
Armed with this information, we have a complete picture of your condition and can fully educate you to the options available to you.
The Challenge of Receiving Appropriate Treatment
ADHD is a condition that affects multiple aspects of mood, cognitive abilities, behaviors, and daily life.
Effective treatment for ADHD in adult women often involves a multifaceted approach that includes medication, psychotherapy, stress management, as well as ADHD coaching and/or professional organizing.
Our 30 years of experience give you confidence in our understanding of the complexities associated with co-existing conditions and the impact of hormonal fluctuations of ADHD that are specific to a woman.
If you can relate to the examples we’ve provided, we urge you to call our office to schedule an appointment for an evaluation. The time you invest in understanding ADHD and how you can overcome its effects on your life will be worth it!
Call 717-303-0505 today to schedule your evaluation.