Symptoms

Common Symptoms of ADD and ADHD in Women

Eileen Bailey Nov 7th, 2012 (updated Sep 27th, 2016)
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Feeling low self-worth
Feeling low self-worth

Women may feel they should be able to "do it all" and feel defeated when they can't keep up. Juggling parenting and work responsibilities can simply be overwhelming.

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Hypersensitivity to criticism
Hypersensitivity to criticism

High expectations since childhood to be a "good girl" can make women with ADHD more vulnerable to these sensitivities. 

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Poor sense of time
Poor sense of time

Time management is often an issue for women with ADHD. They are often running late.

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Being emotionally charged and easily upset
Being emotionally charged and easily upset

Easily upset or frustrated? Emotions are exacerbated during hormonal changes. Emotional issues, including depression and anxiety, are also related to ADHD. It is estimated that one in four adults with ADHD also has symptoms of depression.

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Starting projects but unable to finish them
Starting projects but unable to finish them

Do you have piles of empty photo books? Heaps of unfinished sewing projects? Focusing and following through on a project is difficult with ADHD.

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Taking on too much
Taking on too much

On top of work and parenting, there is often the need for women to take on even more tasks like volunteering, helping out with school-related functions, cooking, etc. This symptom goes hand-in-hand with time management and difficulty finishing projects.

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Difficulty remembering names
Difficulty remembering names

Difficulty remembering names often gets worse before, during and after menopause. This is also a sign of inattention, a common symptom in ADHD.

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Saying things without thinking
Saying things without thinking

Many social issues follow aduts with ADHD.  Prone to "foot-in-mouth" moments? Saying things without thinking often leads to hurting others' feelings. 

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Appearing self-absorbed
Appearing self-absorbed

Do your friends get upset with you for interrupting them in conversation or bailing out on plans at the last moment? Appearing selfish is a sign of ADD/ADHD.

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Poor math or writing skills
Poor math or writing skills

Not a numbers person? Some women with ADHD exhibit poor math and reading skills. This could be a product of difficulty during schooling, possibly due to ADHD.

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Seeming to not want to hear what others are saying
Seeming to not want to hear what others are saying

Appearing aloof is especially difficult for women, who often want to connect socially but have difficulty doing so. Impulsivity (in one's own statements) and inattention (while others may be conversing) can emphasize this issue.

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Engaging in unhealthy behaviors
Engaging in unhealthy behaviors

Shopping, TV (reality shows!), and eating are common types of unhealthy behaviors. Impulsivity is a key symptom of ADHD in adults. Increased impulsive shopping purchases are often another sign. 

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Problems with word retrieval
Problems with word retrieval

Difficulty remembering words often gets worse during menopause. And when the problem is not cognitive-based, it could just be an issue of inattention of spinning too many thoughts at one time.

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Poor handwriting
Poor handwriting

In addition to poor math or writing skills, poor handwriting can be an embarrassing symptom of ADHD.

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Difficulty with boring, repetitive tasks
Difficulty with boring, repetitive tasks

Is your house a mess because you hate and avoid doing chores? Completing repetitive tasks like laundry is hard for women with ADD/ADHD.

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Spending too much time ruminating
Spending too much time ruminating

Getting lost in your thoughts or daydreaming are common among women with ADD/ADHD. This ties in with distractability.

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Difficulty making decisions
Difficulty making decisions

Skim, 1%, 2%, or whole milk? Regular or soy? Grocery shopping is often painful with all the choices available in stores today.  Seemingly simple tasks require too much thought or commitment to a singular idea, leading to distraction.

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Difficulty sitting still
Difficulty sitting still

Easily burnt out? Or do you often fidget? Tiredness and restlessness both are signs of ADD and ADHD. Though not so much an issue of a "running motor" as it is in children, fidgety and hyperactive behavior are still prevalent in adults.

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Difficulty falling asleep and waking up
Difficulty falling asleep and waking up

Many women with ADD/ADHD experience sleep disorders that may increase during menopause.