Women are less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Our ADHD symptoms are often more socially acceptable, so we go undiagnosed. We may have been daydreamy when we were little, and this could have been dismissed as cute, wistful, creative, or flighty. Some of us were very talkative, which was typically understood as being hyper-social even if we lacked strong social skills. Frequently, females are less hyperactive than males, so our ADHD symptoms are not as clear to others as the boy who is getting out of his seat and disrupting the class.
While our ADHD traits are not as in-your-face as our male counterparts, they are still just as impactful. Being over-talkative will often get us in trouble. I lost count of how many times I saw “Tara needs to learn to listen and stop talking in class” on my report cards. Our brains can be full of running thoughts that we want to share. This can result in women experiencing difficulties sharing conversations with their peers and being accused of not listening to them. Our impulsivity means that we often blurt out our thoughts rather than consider how what we are thinking may be received by others. Daydreaming, or losing focus, means we have zoned out on big components of lectures or conversations. Women with ADHD often miss out on the finer details of a discussion as we can be distracted by our thoughts.
We may not be as hyperactive, but we can be just as fidgety as our male counterparts. We are often unable to sit still and listen to conversations, lectures, or even watch TV when we are not interested in the program. Having a fidget tool or other type of movement can be helpful to keep us focused. Sitting in a rocking or hanging chair is particularly helpful to some women with ADHD. One of my ADHD friends is always working on crafts while she and her partner get lost in streaming their favourite programs.
Our menstrual cycles also impact how we experience our ADHD symptoms. At certain points in our cycle, when our estrogen dips, our ADHD symptoms may become more severe. A booster of medication may help at these times. Women can also experience more significant ADHD symptoms as they approach menopause.
Talk to your medicating physician about the possibility of a medication booster during the estrogen dip in your cycle.
If you are interested in coaching for women with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, check out taracarmanfrench.com.