Tag: self-confidence

ADHD in Women: Symptoms, Treatment, and Support

ADHD in Women: Symptoms, Treatment, and Support

Understanding ADHD in women

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that interferes with daily functioning and can cause problems at work, school, and in your relationships. In women and adolescent girls, the symptoms of ADHD commonly involve more inattentiveness than the “classic” ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity often displayed by men and boys. Women with ADHD also tend to report more symptoms of anxiety and depression.

As a woman with ADHD, you may find that you often misplace things, forget details or instructions, or have a hard time staying focused and organized. But you’re likely also better at masking your symptoms and finding ways to cover up for your lapses in concentration. You might put in extra hours at work or school, for example, and compensate for your lack of focus by appearing to be highly conscientious or a perfectionist. You may rely on apps and other productivity tools to make up for your poor organization and time-management skills.

Rather than stand out because of your ADHD symptoms, you also try to copy what others are doing as a model for how to act in certain situations. Many women even resort to unhealthy ways of coping, such as excessive alcohol and substance use, especially in adolescence.

In some cases, you may not recognize how ADHD is creating issues for you. Life can seem so stressful overall that feeling anxious, unfocused, and disorganized just seems “normal.” All of these factors can impact your self-confidence, make it harder for others to notice that you’re struggling, and delay an accurate diagnosis.

The good news is that gender disparities in ADHD are now more clearly understood, and improvements in diagnosis and treatment options for women are being addressed. The challenges of ADHD don’t have to impair your functioning or your quality of life. If you’re a woman or adolescent girl with ADHD, there is hope, help, and support available. And there are tools you can utilize to manage your ADHD symptoms and live a more fulfilling and productive life. So keep reading in this website https://miramarretreat.org/‘s article for know further information about it.

ADHD in Women: Symptoms, Treatment, and Support

Symptoms of ADHD in women

Although symptoms of ADHD usually begin in childhood, for many women they may not be recognized until adolescence or adulthood. Perhaps your child has recently been diagnosed and you recognize the same symptoms in yourself. Or maybe the frustrations caused by living with an untreated disorder have simply become too much to ignore.

As with girls, women with ADHD may not appear as hyperactive, impulsive, or disruptive as males with ADHD, meaning the symptoms can often be missed or misdiagnosed. However, that doesn’t mean that these symptoms aren’t sometimes present in women.

Inattention symptoms

These include:

Difficulty following through with tasks. ADHD can make it difficult to complete tasks at school or work, or to be productive and function as a team player. You might frequently make careless mistakes or overlook important details.

Time management problems. You struggle to be punctual for school, work, or social engagements, or underestimate how long it takes to get to places or complete tasks. You often forget appointments, spend a lot of time procrastinating, or have trouble meeting deadlines.

Constantly losing or misplacing things. Your forgetfulness and poor organizational skills can result in a cluttered home, car, and office, and a tendency to frequently lose things you need for work or school. You might get frustrated when you can’t find things you regularly use, like your wallet, phone, or car keys.

Having trouble listening when spoken to directly. You have difficulty focusing on what’s being said, or quickly lose track of what you’re being told. This can make it hard to follow conversations, remember instructions, or build solid work and social relationships.

Being easily distracted. You frequently find it hard to focus, regularly daydream, or get easily bored, especially during mundane or unstimulating tasks. You might compulsively check your social media feeds when you’re struggling to focus at work or school. In turn, the constant barrage of information makes it even harder to maintain your focus.

Overconcentrating on certain tasks. This is the flip side to inattention. You can become totally absorbed or “hyperfocus” on something you find stimulating, and find it hard to stop and concentrate on other, more important tasks.

Hyperactive symptoms

In women, hyperactive symptoms may not be as obvious as in children with ADHD, but can include:

Restlessness. Fidgeting, having trouble sitting still, feeling agitated, being impatient about waiting in line or on-hold.

Racing thoughts. Having lots of different thoughts all at once, speeding through your mind, making it difficult to focus on any single one.

Talking excessively. Trying to express lots of different thoughts at once.

Obsessive social media use. Repeatedly checking and responding to social media posts, texts, or messaging apps.

Becoming easily bored. Switching from one activity to another, craving stimulation or excitement, even embarking on risky behavior.

Impulsivity symptoms

Impulsive behavior includes saying or doing things without considering the possible negative consequences.

  • Impulsive shopping, for example, can result in financial problems, and make it harder to manage your money wisely.
  • Impulsively interrupting other people when they’re talking, or blurting out answers before someone has finished asking a question can put a strain on your relationships.
  • If you’re an adolescent girl with ADHD, you may find yourself the target of bullying as a result of impulsive remarks or behavior.
  • You may embark on risky sexual behavior, increasing your risk of an unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease.
  • Impulsiveness while driving or using machinery can compromise your safety.

Emotional symptoms

Having trouble managing emotions can affect both men and women with ADHD, but may manifest in different ways. Men with ADHD are more likely to become aggressive or even physically violent. Women with ADHD, on the other hand, are more likely to become irritable, easily flustered, or sensitive to criticism.

As a woman with ADHD, your mood swings can often be misinterpreted by others, especially male partners or colleagues. Gender stereotyping can mean that you’re frequently misunderstood, and dismissed as unpredictable or an overly emotional woman. Justifiably, this only adds to your sense of frustration.

Co-occurring disorders

Having ADHD, especially when it’s undiagnosed and untreated, can leave you feeling worried and stressed out much of the time. This may account for why both anxiety and depression are more common in women with ADHD than men.

Anxiety. It’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between anxiety and ADHD. Some of the symptoms overlap, such as difficulty concentrating, feeling restless, and having sleep problems. But there are also a number of distinct differences. The forgetfulness, disorganization, and fidgeting with ADHD are not usually present with anxiety. Similarly, the constant feelings of worry, dread, nervousness, and rapid breathing with anxiety disorders are not hallmarks of ADHD.

Depression. Depression and ADHD also have some similarities. Both conditions make you more forgetful, unmotivated, and unable to focus. The main difference is that depressive moods and symptoms are more severe and long lasting than ADHD symptoms.

Disordered eating. While both men and women with ADHD are at increased risk of developing eating disorders, women tend to have a higher incidence of anorexia and bulimia. Impulsive behavior may contribute to unhealthy eating habits. At the same time, unhealthy eating can make ADHD symptoms worse.

Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is also common in young girls and adolescents with ADHD. This can consist of self-cutting, burning, scratching, or similar behaviors. It can also be linked to other harmful behaviors, such as alcohol or substance abuse.

Coping and self-help tips

It’s empowering to take charge of your own health, and be your own advocate. You’re the one who is most familiar with your body, what you need to function better, and how you can feel more in control.

Whether or not you also pursue professional treatment options, there are important strategies you can use right now to begin managing your ADHD symptoms and make beneficial changes to your life.

Tip 1: Exercise and meditate to sharpen focus and concentration

As well as elevating your mood, physical activity can also help control ADHD symptoms. Getting regular exercise can release neurotransmitters such as dopamine which help boost attention and focus. Exercise can also burn off excess energy, and ease stress and anxiety, other common issues in women with ADHD.

Aim for 4 to 5 sessions a week of about 30 minutes each day. You don’t have to go to the gym. You can try aerobic or cardio workouts at home, or walk, run, swim, or bike outside. To make it a more social experience, try dancing, yoga, group classes such as Pilates, or playing team sports.

Add a mindfulness element to further improve your memory, attention span, and ability to focus. As you exercise, instead of focusing on music or watching TV, try focusing on your body as it moves—the way you swing your arms as you walk, for example, or the feeling the wind on your face. Stay in the present moment, and take the time to fully notice what you’re doing. Mindfulness is often incorporated into yoga and tai chi routines.

Mindfulness meditation for ADHD

Mindfulness meditation can be an extremely effective way to not only improve focus, attention, and your ability to resist distractions, but also reduce impulsivity and better manage your emotions.

Since hyperactivity can make meditation challenging for some women with ADHD, try starting your practice with short meditations and gradually build up from there. The more you practice meditation, the better you’ll be able to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life to help calm your mind and body, block out distractions, and control impulsiveness.

Tip 2: Improve your diet to control impulsivity and hyperactivity

While your diet doesn’t cause ADHD, certain foods can make symptoms of impulsivity, distractibility, and restlessness better or worse.

  • Aim for a balanced diet consisting of lots of fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, healthy fats, and quality protein.
  • Avoid foods that are high in sugar and simple carbohydrates, such as white bread, cakes, soda, candy, and most junk or processed food.
  • Eating several small meals throughout the day rather than three large meals to maintain an even energy.
  • Limit caffeine, which can make you more irritable, nervous, and anxious and may increase the side effects of stimulant medications for ADHD.
  • There is some evidence that certain supplements may help curb symptoms of inattention and impulsiveness. These include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and magnesium.

Tip 3: Get better organized

While the thought of getting organized when you have ADHD can seem like an overwhelming undertaking, you don’t have to be a “neat freak” to start getting your life in order.

  • Break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. For example, you can sort through one drawer in your desk or dresser at a time, or one section of your closet.
  • Make a pile of items to discard that you’re no longer using, or clothes that you haven’t worn in a while. As you progress, you can begin to organize a room or office space by placing items into categories for storage, trash, or donations.
  • Make to-do lists, or use planners or calendars to keep track of tasks you need to take care.
  • Improve your time management by using smartphone apps that can serve as reminders for upcoming appointments and deadlines.
  • Designate a time each day to deal with paperwork, so it doesn’t pile up and become an overwhelming task.
  • Check your mail every day. Prioritize paying bills and responding to other time-sensitive correspondence right away, while it’s fresh in your mind.
  • Going “paperless” is another great option to minimize clutter and avoid having to organize or dispose of mountains of paper.

Tip 4: Deal with insomnia and other sleep problems

Insomnia and other sleep issues are common in women with ADHD. They usually begin about the time of puberty and get worse with age. But feeling sleep deprived will only exacerbate symptoms such as irritability, inattention, and anxiety.

Practicing good sleep hygiene is invaluable for improving both the quantity and quality of your sleep.

  • Establish a regular bedtime routine, doing something relaxing before bed such as listening to calming music or an audiobook, or meditating.
  • Limit screen time at least an hour before bed, to allow your mind to calm.
  • Sleep in a dark, cool room with minimal noise.
  • Some people with ADHD find that using a weighted blanket helps to calm the mind and improve focus.
  • If you have trouble waking up in the morning, expose yourself to sunlight as soon as you can or use a light therapy box.

Tip 5: Manage difficulties in the workplace

Whether you work remotely or commute to a workplace, having ADHD can present a host of challenges at work. Emails, phone calls, meetings, and other interruptions throughout the day can interfere with your concentration and attention span. Even just having to sit at a desk and focus on multiple projects can seem like an insurmountable burden when you have ADHD.

Whatever you find most challenging at work, try not to be hard on yourself or beat yourself up about any perceived shortcomings. You can often find that with just a few simple adjustments, you can make your workday more manageable and productive.

  • Declutter your workspace and desk.
  • Keep your office/home office door closed as much as possible.
  • Use a headset to block out background noise.
  • Work on each task individually and divide them into smaller bite-size chunks to make them seem less overwhelming.
  • Use a planner, checklists, or post-it notes to keep track of deadlines.
  • Take notes at meetings to help you remember important details.
  • Take frequent breaks to move around and calm your mind.

Tip 6: Smooth relationship problems

ADHD symptoms can heighten frustration and misunderstandings in your relationships, whether they’re with a romantic partner, friends, family, or work colleagues. Your struggles with attention and focus, for example, can appear to others as disinterest, boredom, or even a lack of commitment to the relationship. While you as the person with ADHD may feel like others are always criticizing, micromanaging, or being disrespectful towards you.

But having ADHD doesn’t mean you can’t sustain healthy and fulfilling relationships with those closest to you. It takes time and patience to build solid relationships, but there are many solutions and resources to foster this process.

Understand the role ADHD plays in your relationships. It can help to look at how ignored or offended the other person may feel when you appear distracted or forgetful. Try to be honest with those closest to you about how you’re feeling and the struggles ADHD symptoms can present rather than simply putting the blame on the other person.

Improve your communication skills. Try to maintain eye contact when others are talking and avoid interrupting. When your focus starts to drift, repeat the person’s words in your head so you can better follow and remember what’s being said. Asking questions can also help convey to the other person that you’re paying attention.

Manage your emotions. Saying things impulsively you later regret or easily losing your temper can seriously damage any relationship. If strong emotions threaten to derail a conversation, especially one with your partner, take a time out to calm down and refocus before continuing. HelpGuide’s free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit can teach you how to better control your emotions in times of stress.

Divide up tasks with your partner. If disorganization, clutter, or inattention create problems at home, work with your partner to share and divide up household chores. If you struggle to pay bills on time, for example, that may be a task best left to your partner while you agree to grocery shop instead.

Parenting when you have ADHD

Having problems with staying organized, concentrating, and managing your emotions can make parenting even more difficult, especially if your child also has ADHD. Struggling to help a child overcome the same issues you’re facing can seem overwhelming at times.

Managing your own ADHD symptoms will help relieve some of the family pressures. It can also help to:

Schedule regular times to spend with your child. Whether it’s to play together, help with homework, or simply chat over a meal, it’s important to avoid distractions and spend regular one-on-one time with your child.

Set consistent rules and consequences. If you struggle with impulsivity, any inconsistency on your part can be confusing for your children. With your partner, set clear rules so that everyone in the household understands what is acceptable—and what happens if the rules are broken.

Take a time out when you feel overwhelmed. When you have difficulty managing your own emotions, trying to deal with a misbehaving child or petulant teenager can lead to escalating conflict. Rather than impulsively say or do something you’ll later regret, take a few moments to step away and calm down.

Divide up parenting duties with your partner. If your struggles with organization make certain tasks more difficult for you, trade off responsibilities with your spouse or partner. They handle getting the kids ready for school on time in the morning, for example, while you make dinner in the evening. If you’re a single parent, reach out to family or loved ones for support.


There are a number of treatments for ADHD as an adult woman, including medication. Keep in mind, however, that stimulant or non-stimulant medications are not a cure for ADHD. Medication alone is not enough to correct problems with time management, organization, and relationship issues in your daily life. As a result, ADHD is usually managed with a combination of treatments.

It’s crucial to find the best treatments to accommodate your specific needs, stage in life, primary responsibilities, and type of symptoms. This process can be more complex for women because of hormone fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, and menopause.

  • Due to concerns about taking stimulant ADHD medication during pregnancy, for example, your doctor may recommend relying on other treatments to control your symptoms.
  • Medications have side effects, so you and your doctor need to monitor it closely. It may take some time to find the right medication, dosage, and tolerance levels.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy can assist with planning, organization, impulse control, and stress management.
  • Behavioral coaching and professional organizers focus solely on practical solutions to the challenges you face in daily life. They can help you improve your time management and get better organized at home and work.
How can I improve my self-esteem?

How can I improve my self-esteem?

This page has some tips and suggestions for improving your self-esteem, or self-confidence.

Some people find these ideas useful, but remember that different things work for different people at different times. Only try what you feel comfortable with.

How can I improve my self-esteem?

Be kind to yourself

  • Get to know yourself. For example, what makes you happy and what you value in life. You might find it helpful to write this in a journal.
  • Try to challenge unkind thoughts about yourself. You might automatically put yourself down. If you find yourself doing this, it can help to ask: “Would I talk to a friend in this way?”
  • Say positive things to yourself. Some people like to do this in front of a mirror. It can feel strange at first, but you may feel more comfortable the more you do it.
  • Practise saying no. Being assertive can be difficult if you’re not used to it. But agreeing to too many things to please others can be draining. It could help to pause, take a breath and think about how you feel before agreeing to do something you don’t want to.
  • Try to avoid comparing yourself to others. For example, it might help to limit how much time you spend on social media or online communities. What other people often choose to share about their lives isn’t always the full picture.
  • Do something nice for yourself. For example, making your favourite meal or playing a game you enjoy.

Try to recognise positives

  • Celebrate your successes. No matter how small they may seem, take time to praise yourself. For example, this could be getting outside for a walk or doing some tidying.
  • Accept compliments. You could save them up to look over when you’re feeling low or doubting yourself.
  • Ask people what they like about you, if you feel comfortable. They may recognise things that you don’t think about yourself.
  • Write a list of things you like about yourself. For example, this could be a skill that you’ve learnt, or something you do to help other people.

Build a support network

  • Talk to someone you trust. Having someone listen to you and show they care can help. If you aren’t able to open up to someone close to you, you could call a helpline to speak to someone anonymously. For example, you could call Samaritans on 116 123.
  • Focus on positive relationships. It might feel difficult to control who you spend time with. But where possible, it can help to spend more time with people who make you feel good about yourself.
  • Try peer support. Making connections with people who have similar or shared experiences can help. For example, online communities like Mind’s Side by Side can be a good source of support. See our pages on peer support to find out more.

Try talking therapy

Talking therapies can help with building self-esteem. They can also help you find ways to cope with experiences that affect how you feel about yourself.

See our pages on talking therapies and counselling for more information.

Set yourself a challenge

  • Try volunteering. You might decide to volunteer your time for something you feel passionate about. For more information on volunteering, see the Volunteer by Do-IT website.
  • Set small goals. This could help things feel more manageable, and give you a greater sense of achievement.
  • Learn something new. For example, this could be trying a new hobby or creative activity. Or taking time to read a book about a new subject.
Look after yourself
  • Try to get enough sleep. Getting too little or too much sleep can have a negative impact on how you feel. See our pages on coping with sleep problems for more information.
  • Think about your diet. Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can make a difference to your mood and energy levels. See our pages on food and mood for more information.
  • Try to do some physical activity. Being active can help your mental wellbeing. This may include helping to improve your self-esteem. See our pages on physical activity for more information.
  • Spend time outside. Being in green space can often help how you feel. See our pages on nature and mental health for more information.
  • Practise mindfulness and meditation. For example, you could try Headspace’s meditation course for self-esteem.
  • Try to avoid recreational drugs and alcohol. You might want to use recreational drugs or alcohol to cope with difficult feelings about yourself. But in the long run they can make you feel worse and can prevent you from dealing with underlying problems. See our pages on recreational drugs and alcohol for more information.
  • Sign up to a self-help programme. For example, you could try our supported self-help programme if you are in Wales. Or you could use the Reading Well books scheme to find books to help with your self-esteem.

See our page in https://miramarretreat.org/ on improving your wellbeing for more tips to help look after yourself.

What is self-esteem?

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves. It’s based on our opinions and beliefs about ourselves, which can feel difficult to change. We might also think of this as self-confidence.

Your self-esteem can affect whether you:

  • Like and value yourself as a person
  • Can make decisions and assert yourself
  • Recognise your strengths
  • Feel able to try new or difficult things
  • Show kindness towards yourself
  • Move past mistakes without blaming yourself unfairly
  • Take the time you need for yourself
  • Believe you matter and are good enough
  • Believe you deserve happiness

What’s it like to have low self-esteem?

Watch Nathan, Hannah, Helen, Rishi and Georgina talk about their experiences of low self-esteem, including how it feels, what’s helped them and how their friends and family can help.

What is self-esteem?

What can cause low self-esteem?

The things that affect our self-esteem are different for everyone. Your self-esteem might change suddenly. Or you might have had low self-esteem for a while​. 

There are lots of things in life that may contribute to low self-esteem. For example:

  • Being bullied or abused
  • Experiencing prejudice, discrimination or stigma, including racism
  • Losing your job or difficulty finding employment
  • Problems at work or while studying
  • Physical health problems
  • Mental health problems
  • Relationship problems, separation or divorce
  • Problems with money or housing
  • Worries about your appearance and body image
  • Feeling pressure to meet unrealistic expectations, for example through social media

You might have had some of these experiences. And you might have had difficulties that aren’t listed here. Or there might not be one particular cause.

If you struggle with low self-esteem, it might feel as if making changes will be difficult. But there are things you can try. See our tips to improve your self-esteem for some suggestions.

Is low self-esteem a mental health problem?

Low self-esteem isn’t a mental health problem in itself. But mental health and self-esteem can be closely linked.

Some of the signs of low self-esteem can be signs of a mental health problem. This is especially if they last for a long time or affect your daily life. For example:

  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Blaming yourself unfairly
  • Hating yourself
  • Worrying about being unable to do things

Having a mental health problem could also cause you to have low self-esteem. And it might feel harder to cope or take steps to improve your self-esteem if you struggle with your mental health.

If you are worried about your mental health, in https://miramarretreat.org/‘s pages on seeking help for a mental health problem have information on how to get support.