The Latest in the Treatment of Women with AD/HD
August 15th 2005
women with AD/HD
According to the prestigious Mayo
Clinic, it is estimated that 7.5% of school-aged children have AD/HD.
The great majority of these children grow up to be adults with AD/HD,
which means that there are between 4.5 to 5.5 million
women in the USA alone with AD/HD.
If one thinks of the core symptoms of AD/HD: distractibility,
impulsivity and hyperactivity, is it no wonder that woman struggle with
seemingly simple tasks such as picking out clothes, keeping their home
in order, handling paperwork at their jobs, maintaining healthy
relationships, etc? We often forget the many AD/HD symptoms that aren't
usually described in clinical journals and books, but which I've
observed in countless women.
Not all AD/HD presents the same. Some people are hyperactive; others are
sluggish. Some love having a lot of commotion and stimuli in their
lives; others need to retreat to a quiet space to re-charge.
Consider the list of symptoms below
that are not often described in the ADD literature but which I hear
described over and over again from the ADD women I talk to. Is it any
wonder that one's daily activities can be so overwhelming?
- Hypersensitive to noise, touch,
- Low feeling of self-worth
- Easily overwhelmed
- Hypersensitive to criticism
- Poor sense of time- often runs
- Emotionally charged; easily upset
- Starts projects but can't seem to
- Takes on too much
- Difficulty remembering names
- Says things without thinking,
often hurting others' feelings
- Appears self-absorbed
- Poor math and;/or writing skills
- Doesn't seem to hear what others
- Addictive behaviors: shopping,
- Problems with word retrieval
- Poor handwriting
- Has difficulty with boring,
- Difficulty making decisions
- Clumsy; poor coordination
- Tires easily or conversely, can't
- Has problems falling asleep and
difficulty waking up the next morning
Effects of Living with AD/HD
For some women, just holding their
own in a conversation can be a real challenge. Others avoid social
gatherings because they miss social cues, making them feel out of step,
thereby shutting down in order to save themselves possible
Many feel unable to entertain at home because the piles of clothes,
papers and assorted knickknacks keep them away from inviting people
Relationships, work situations, parenting- all can become huge
challenges for women living with undiagnosed and untreated AD/HD. The
result of living for years with these difficulties often produces
depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, substance abuse, and other
Treatment of AD/HD in Women
Surprisingly, much of the treatment
that is used for AD/HD in children is often the treatment of choice for
adults as well. Studies have shown that a combination of counseling,
psychoeducation (learning more about AD/HD and how it impacts one's
life), ADD coaching, support groups and medication (if recommended by a
physician), is the most successful treatment approach for women.
The most common medications used are the stimulants (Ritalin, Adderall,
Dexedrine and Concerta are currently the most popular) and a newer
non-stimulant medication, Strattera.
However, many women, because of their life-long struggle with AD/HD, may
find themselves anxious, depressed or both. Approximately 50% of AD/HD
adults do experience a co-morbidity which then needs to be medically
addressed by adding perhaps an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety
medication to their regime.
Research is beginning to show that
AD/HD women have special issues throughout their lifespan that cause
extra difficulties in their living with this disorder. As hormonal
changes shift, so do their AD/HD symptoms.
On the one hand, some girls may find that their hyperactivity improves
during puberty, yet they may experience an increase in mood instability
before and during their menstrual cycles.
Peri-menopause and menopause can create it's own set of problems. Women
often report an increase in AD/HD symptoms, particularly memory loss and
difficulty with word retrieval. Some notice an increase in depressive
symptoms. It's important for women to work closely with their physicians
during these times, so that changes in medications can be discussed.
Often, hormonal treatment can alleviate these aggravated symptoms.
Check your AD/HD "temperature"
Whether you are a teenager, or a
post-menopausal woman, it's important to regularly check your "AD/HD
temperature" and discuss any changes in your symptoms with your health
Do you have a story related to this article and would
like to see it published, submit it
Terry Matlen MSW,
Terry is a psychotherapist and consultant in Birmingham, Michigan
specializing in AD/HD in adults. She is the author of "Survival Tips for
Women with AD/HD".
Terry is the director of www.addconsults.com, an online AD/HD eClinic
and www.myADDstore.com . She serves on the board of directors of the
Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA). A popular presenter at
local and national conferences, Terry has a passion for raising
awareness of the special challenges for women with AD/HD and the unique
issues parents face when both they and their children have AD/HD.
She can be reached via her website at www.addconsults.com
Keywords and misspellings: ADD ADHD AD-HD
Copyright 2005 Best Syndication Last Updated
Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:46 PM