What are the Symptoms of ADHD in Women?

Jennifer Long

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) do not present the same in women as they do in men or children. Characteristics of ADHD in women often mimic hormonal changes, which means the condition is often diagnosed as something else. Spurts of mood swings, forgetfulness, a tendency to be overly talkative, and an inability to sit still for long periods of time are often the most common signs of female ADHD. In general, ADHD patients have a lack of focus, forget things without constant reminders, and are disorganized. ADHD behaviors in women, however, are more detailed and are often disguised.

Women with ADHD may have difficulty with tasks such as choosing clothes.
Women with ADHD may have difficulty with tasks such as choosing clothes.

Adult ADHD has the same symptoms of hyperactivity, easy distraction, and acting on impulse that children often experience. In daily life, ADHD in women can affect difficult and simple tasks such as checkbook balancing and choosing clothes. Women often balance family, friends, children, and a relationship. With all these things competing for attention, it can be difficult to obtain an ADHD diagnosis, but not impossible.

Women with ADHD often experience hyperactivity.
Women with ADHD often experience hyperactivity.

Therapists and other doctors look at the main symptoms of ADHD plus other symptoms that are specific for women. ADHD in women can cause a hypersensitivity to touch and noise, leading to frustration when the home or workplace is crowded. Disorganization at home and work causes a decline in productivity. Women with ADHD will often take on more tasks than they can realistically expect to handle and become frustrated when these tasks cannot be completed.

ADHD in women is often misdiagnosed as other conditions, such as depression and anxiety. This is mainly because women who have ADHD will often suffer from depression and anxiety as a result of the symptoms they experience, and how these symptoms are affecting daily life. Treatments for other problems may be effective for those specific areas, but the ADHD symptoms still continue.

ADHD in women is manageable. Some women prefer to use prescription medications, while others prefer to learn how to control the problem without medication. If ADHD coexists with other conditions, the medications doctors may choose are either a combination that treats all of the symptoms at once or a single medication for each type of symptom. The severity of the symptoms that a woman experiences plays a large role in figuring out the proper treatment.

Choosing alternative methods to treat ADHD in women is often the first option for women who do not want to use prescriptions or when there is too high of a risk for life threatening side effects. Steps such as making lists and reminders, reducing tasks until one is completed, and learning how to stay focused can all help a woman with ADHD enjoy life with minimal effects from ADHD and the trouble they can cause.

Balancing a checkbook maybe a difficult task for a woman with ADHD.
Balancing a checkbook maybe a difficult task for a woman with ADHD.

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