Common Symptoms of ADD and ADHD in Women

Eileen Bailey | Nov 7, 2012

Reviewed by Paul Ballas, DO

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Feeling low self-worth

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Juggling parenting and work responsibilities can simply be overwhelming. Women may feel they must be able to “do it all,” yet feel defeated when they can’t keep up.

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Hypersensitivity to criticism

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

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Poor sense of time

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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

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Easily upset or frustrated? For many women, emotions are exacerbated during hormonal changes. Emotional issues however, 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

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

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Taking on too much

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On top of work and parenting, for women there is also a feeling of the need to take on even more tasks, such as volunteering, helping 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

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

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Saying things without thinking

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A variety of social issues are noted in adults living with ADHD. Prone to “foot-in-mouth” moments? Saying things without thinking often leads to hurting others’ feelings and may signal ADHD in some cases.

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Appearing self-absorbed

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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

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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

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Appearing aloof is especially difficult for women who are living with ADHD, 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

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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

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

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Poor handwriting

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In addition to poor math or writing skills, poor handwriting can be an symptom of ADHD that may cause a person to become self-conscious.

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Difficulty with boring, repetitive tasks

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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

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

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Difficulty making decisions

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Skim, one percent, two percent, or whole milk? Regular or soy? Grocery shopping is often painful with all the choices available in stores today. Seemingly simple tasks that feel like they require too much thought or commitment to a singular idea, may in some cases of ADHD, lead to distraction.

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Difficulty sitting still

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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

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