While anyone can get ADHD, there are some different societal labels than those incurred by men. “Chatty Cathy”, “Daydreamer”, and “Flighty” are just a few of the terms used to describe females who present with symptoms of forgetfulness, inattention, and distractibility. Most of the research available on ADHD focuses on children, but studies examining the condition when it is diagnosed in adulthood are scarce. However, there do appear to be evident patterns distinguishing the experience of ADHD in women versus men.
Common Symptoms of ADHD
The most common symptoms of ADHD are lack of focus, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. Most adults report that these issues began in childhood and continued, increasing in severity and subsequent consequences into adulthood. Many women diagnosed in adulthood contend that they were capable to push through and deal with the condition for most of their lives, until things in their lives start to fall apart. This typically occurs in early adulthood and manifests through a lack of self-management and self-regulation.
Difference in Behavioral Trends in Men Versus Women
Though the same general symptoms and issues experienced by men and women are similar, there are some differences that present themselves in behavioral patterns. One example is that the behaviors are sometimes different in men, such as being more prone to substance abuse or anger problems. These issues typically manifest themselves by causing challenges in school and/or the workplace. Women, on the other hand, are less-likely to face these challenges. Women tend to be at higher risk for issues like anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Women are also more likely to suffer from the inattentive and internally distracted type of ADHD, while men are more prone to hyperactivity.
Tips for Coping and Managing When Life Overwhelms
Having a family and managing a household is certainly stressful and overwhelming for anyone. However, the stress experienced is amplified when a woman has ADHD. Studies have also suggested that ADHD is inherited, meaning women afflicted with the condition is likely to produce children who also have it. With added responsibilities, it becomes increasingly difficult to hide signs of the condition or manage the manifestations of it, especially when she is also required to cope with these same symptoms in her children.
Making sure that loved ones understand the symptoms and consequences of ADHD will allow them to have more realistic expectations and be supportive. Women with ADHD can make efforts to reduce unnecessary stressors, negotiating commitments and responsibilities with those who care about them. Having help makes a world of difference for women with ADHD and can be the defining factor that prevents more serious, life-impacting consequences.