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Women

An older woman has come to terms with her ADHD — and thrived in her career in spite of her challenges — but still wishes her family and friends weren’t so dismissive of the struggles that come with the disorder.

All of my life I believed that I had a learning disability. Finally, after I turned 60, I began hearing about ADHD in adults.

It might still be wrongly associated with uncontrollable young boys, but Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects thousands of adult women – like Ness Lyons. It’s crucial we learn to understand it, she says 

You may have experienced one or more of the normal transitions in hormonal levels during adulthood that can affect ADHD symptoms in women: pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopauseDuring pregnancy, women can experience significant improvement to their ADHD symptoms as levels of oestrogen increase.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder usually manifests differently, making diagnosis difficult for those unfamiliar with the symptoms

Brenda Thomas struggled with organization for years.

“I was always down on myself, questioning, ‘Why can’t I do these simple things?’ What comes so easily to others takes hours and hours for me,” says Thomas of the “hundreds” of craft projects she never finished, appointments she missed, and bills she couldn’t pay on time.

For most women and girls affected by ADHD, severity of ADHD symptoms will fluctuate throughout the month, tied closely with their hormonal cycles.

Researcher and author Patricia Quinn, MD, tells the story of one woman, Adele, in her book Understanding Women with AD/HD. Dr. Quinn's ground-breaking book was highlighted in Attention magazine. More recently, her book Understanding Girls with ADHD, Updated and Revised: How They Feel and Why They Do What They Do addresses the concerns of girls and young women struggling with ADHD symptoms.