Women with ADHD often have different symptoms to men. This doesn't mean that fewer women have ADHD compared to men - it is a common misconception that men are more likely to have ADHD than women. This is not strictly true, as although women do not typically exhibit the hyperactivity and impulsiveness that can be associated with ADHD, this does not mean that they do not have it. The condition is sometimes mistaken for other mental health problems such as anxiety or depression in women.
Some of the symptoms typically linked to women with ADHD may include:
- Being disorganised, forgetful and possibly introverted / withdrawn.
- Zoning out or daydreaming.
- Anxiety, being more likely to get upset, or crying easily.
- Being intelligent but struggling with structured events like exams due to concentration issues.
- Being disorganised and messy, either with their environment and personal appearance.
- Being forgetful, jumping from one task to another, or difficulty time-keeping.
- Having a lot to say, interrupting, and doesn't reciprocate in a conversation by listening.
Why are the symptoms of ADHD different for women?
Symptoms for women can manifest in different ways that relate to the different societal expectations of boys and girls. Although society is changing to dispel these associations, typically boys are expected to be more outgoing and rambunctious, whereas girls are expected to be more reserved. In order to fit in and to avoid being seen as unusual, some girls are able to suppress their behaviours to be more inward-looking, displaying in ways that seem like shyness, daydreaming, or inattentiveness.
There are still some similarities between men and women with ADHD in that both can feel overwhelmed and exhausted by ADHD, and there is plenty of room for crossovers in symptoms. In some cases, while symptoms of ADHD may decrease during puberty for boys, it can have the opposite effect on girls and become worse or symptoms may even begin for the first time. ADHD can also become more challenging to cope during periods.
If you are concerned that you or someone you know may have symptoms of ADHD, get in touch with our team today.