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Blog: Healthy Wealthy Organizers
Women and ADD/ADHD

I have not only worked with adult women diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, but I have the disorder myself.  Untreated for many years (and in my case a "thread" result of bipolar disorder), I suffered much shame and discouragement before I finally came to understand what was really happening to me.   
What we know now is that although an estimated 3 percent of adult women have ADHD, many women are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. This may be due to a public misconception that many people think it occurs mostly in boys and men. Therefore, fewer women than men seek help for ADD/ADHD symptoms, and doctors are less likely to suspect that female patients have the disorder. The resulting missed diagnoses increase the chances that a woman with ADD/ADHD may develop one or more of the related conditions listed below.
Anxiety and depression.  Women are often initially diagnosed with anxiety or depression instead of ADHD, according to experts. Although women may indeed have anxiety and depression, research has found that ADD/ADHD may be at the root of many of these problems. The ADHD symptoms contribute to their becoming anxious and depressed. And, if the correct diagnosis of ADHD is missed, they only partially benefit from treatment for the anxiety and depression.
Obesity and eating disorders. New research is linking women with ADD/ADHD to an increased chance of being overweight or having an eating disorder. This makes sense, since organization and concentration are required to eat a healthy diet and work out regularly.  By contrast, scattered women with ADHD are more likely to grab quick meals, overeat, or look to food to provide comfort from their ADHD symptoms."
Addictions. Some research has found women with ADD/ADHD to be at risk for drug or alcohol abuse or other harmful addictions. Habit-forming, impulse-related behaviors, such as gambling or shopping addictions, also often have a strong association with ADHD.
If you suspect that your client may have ADD/ADHD and it is leading them down a harmful path, suggest consulting a therapist, psychiatrist, and/or life coach.  Encourage them to consult someone who has experience treating adult ADHD and the unique issues faced by women with ADHD.
Remember, as organizers we are "counselors"  in many ways to our clients - but we are not mental health professionals.  The right therapist can devise an ADHD-specific cognitive-behavioral treatment plan that focuses on such issues as self-esteem, interpersonal and family problems, daily health habits, stress levels, and life-management skills.
Joining a support group for women with ADHD is also helpful. The National Center for Gender Issues and ADD(ADHD) has several links to resources available for women with ADHD.

posted on: 4/14/2010 3:20:16 PM by Robin Stephens
category: Health

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Healthy Wealthy Organizers

by Robin Stephens

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