Let’s Talk about Women & ADHD
Wed. April 5, 7 pm with Psychologist Donna Barre Bradley Hospital E. Prov. http:// www.ClickADHDServices.com. Donna M. Barré, PhD has a unique combination of education, training and personal experience to assist adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to help them find solutions that “click”.
Donna earned a PhD in Life Span Developmental Psychology from West Virginia University, and has been trained in ADHD Coaching through The ADHD Coach Academy (ADDCA). She is a member of The ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO), The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), and Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD).
Donna was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult in the late 1990s, and has studied and practiced ADHD coping strategies with a variety of clinicians, coaches and mentors, both as a client and a student for over 15 years. She looks forward to working with you to help you find solutions that click for you!
Women & ADHD
How ADHD typically affects women, and how to cope with it.
Women's ADHD sometimes gets overlooked until college, when they begin to show a lack of self-regulation and self-management, Rostain says.
“Risks for them include things like being influenced by a sorority or the recreational drug scene,” he says. “And they are not as wild as the guys [with ADHD], but compared to other girls, they are more risk-taking.”
The underlying mechanisms of ADHD are the same in males and females. Both have difficulties with planning, organization, recalling details, and paying attention.
But how ADHD plays out in symptoms is where the gender differences often lie. And the reason for that is likely social.
Because inattention is much more subtle than hyperactivity, this may be why boys are almost three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD. By the time they reach adulthood however, that gap shrinks to two to one. This is likely because girls are often diagnosed later in life, compared to boys.
Girls may "slip through the cracks" and get diagnosed later, Walfish says, because they may be able to cover up their ADHD symptoms.
I Women, on the other hand, are more likely to see conflicts at home. Kathleen Nadeau, PhD, a clinical psychologist and director of the Chesapeake ADHD Center of Maryland in Silver Spring, says her female ADHD patients, especially mothers, come to her in a “constant state of overwhelm.”
“Society has a certain set of expectations we place on women and ADHD often makes them harder to accomplish,” Nadeau says. She points to women's traditional societal roles. “They are supposed to be the organizer, planner, and primary parent at home. Women are expected to remember birthdays and anniversaries and do laundry and keep track of events. That is all hard for someone with ADHD.”
Roots in Childhood
Many women with ADHD remember having these issues for a long time. “A lot of women tell me that (in school) they would look straight at the teacher so they wouldn’t get in trouble, but had no idea what was going on,” Nadeau says. “They are underfunctioning, but bright ... their symptoms are more subtle.”
But there are different shades of ADHD. The most pronounced is the hyperactive-impulsive form, where children have trouble sitting still and completing tasks like school work. They may be overly emotional or randomly blurt out inappropriate comments. Another type of ADHD is inattentive, with symptoms like lack of focus, forgetfulness, boredom, difficulty with organization, and daydreaming.
Though there are always exceptions to the rule, many experts say boys tend more toward hyperactive-impulsive and girls toward inattentive symptoms. “Females tend to be more the inattentive type and internally distracted by thoughts and guys tend to be more hyperactive,” says Fran Walfish, PsyD, child and adult psychotherapist in Beverly Hills, Calif. “I have seen boys who are dreamy and some girls who are hyperactive, but those are the exceptions.”
Sponsored by the Rhode Island Chapter of CHADD-Children & Adults with ADHD