Undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder - Health Care Tips
Women With Undiagnosed Attention
Until recently, ADD or
ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) was thought to be a
boy's disease. The stereotype of someone with ADD was a grade-school
aged boy, flying around the classroom, knocking things over. Girls tend
to have attention deficit without hyperactivity. Even those with
hyperactivity have their symptoms overlooked or misattributed. And many
women came of age before it was recognized that ADD could continue into
Girls with ADD without hyperactivity may be able to compensate during
childhood. Structure imposed by school and parents can help her organize
when she cannot do so by herself. Girls may be more taken care of and
their lack of accomplishments not as much a concern to the adults around
Problems may begin at turning points in her life, where responsibilities
increase. This can be as early as junior high. Graduating college, first
job, marriage, or having children are others. This is partially due to
increases in responsibility that both genders face. But women in our
societies are expected to organize for the men and kids around them. A
man with ADD often replaces his parents and teachers with secretaries
and wives. Women are still expected to be those organizing secretaries
and wives. Even on a professional or managerial level, women are often
assigned and openly praised for doing the "grunt work" of organizing and
paying attention to the details.
Even so, some women's ADD problems do not emerge at adulthood. They have
had problems all their lives. They weren't diagnosed as girls. And, they
simply don't notice anything as being wrong, because things have always
been so chaotic.
How Women With Undiagnosed ADD Feel
1. They feel depressed. Their ADD causes chaos in many aspects of their
lives. They loose heart with failure after failure.
2. Some feel like they are capable of so much more. Even though their
disorganization causes many failures, they still maintain a sense of
what could be. They are often creative and intelligent. But, they are
unable to harness those qualities and focus them on goals, and they are
3. Others feel incompetent. They internalize their chronic
disorganization and resulting failures.
4. Still others feel like fakes. Some are able to compensate and have
good professional lives. But they break down at home. They are unable to
take care of basic things like errands and bills. Still others have to
spend inordinate amounts of extra time and effort and end up feeling
like they don't meaure up to co-workers.
5. They feel immature. They are not able to reach the normal goals of
adulthood due to their disorganization.
6. They feel overwhelmed.
How Women With Undiagnosed ADD Think
1. Women with undiagnosed
ADD may feel assaulted by everyday enviroment. Noises, sights, even her
own thoughts can make her loose focus.
2. They are easily distracted and move from one unfinished activity to
3. They have trouble planning, organizing, and prioritizing. They often
miss deadlines or have trouble gaging their time.
4. While they generate a flurry of ideas internally, they process
information from the outside more slowly.
4. They spend a lot of time thinking about and trying new systems to get
How Women With Undiagnosed ADD Act
1.As mentioned, college
may be a breaking point for women with undiagnosed ADD. She may drop out
of college, or change schools and majors several times.
2. She may abuse drugs or alcohol. This due to their impulsivity and
also as a way of coping with the problems of ADD.
3. In general, they may not act much at all. Women with Attention
Deficit Disorder have trouble initiating activities. They may waste
hours and hours simply because they can't focus enough to get started on
any one thing. Or they feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start--
so they don't.
4. They may cut back on fun, friends, and sleep. Some women compensate
in their professional lives, by spending more time on tasks.
5. Piles. They have piles everywhere. Unpaid bills, unorganized papers,
laundry, objects. At work, at home, in the car.
6. They may express impulsivity by compulsive shopping or eating.
7. The "High Maintainence" look is not for her. She has too much trouble
keeping track of jewelry, make-up, and all the parts of the outfit.
Organizing hair, nail, facial appointments--too much!
Women With Undiagnosed ADD -- How They
Are Seen By Others
1. They are often
diagnosed as depressed, narcissitic personality disorder or borderline
personality disorder. They can be genuinely depressed from dealing with
undiagnosed ADD. Or the indecison, lack of activity and concentration of
ADD is confused with depression. They are misdiagnosed as narcisstic
because being totally focused is a way to survive, not a lack of regard
for others. They are misdiagnosed as Borderline Personality disorder
because it too is characterized by a chaotic life.
3. People are often angry with them because they forget things. They
miss or are late for appointments with others. They forget birthdays.
They don't write thank yous.
4. And those are their friends. Less charitable people call them lazy,
stupid, slackers, or space cadets.
5. They form relationships with people who will organize and take care
of them. Sometimes this is good, but other times they stay in abusive or
dominating relationships because they feel unable to function on their
6. They avoid people. They are embarrassed because their homes are such
a mess and they want no visitors. Or they don't have time for friends
because of all the extra time they spend keeping their basic lives
together. Or they have trouble with small talk or they can't stop
Is She ADD Or Just The Average Woman With Too Much To Do?
Feeling overwhelmed, too many responsibilities, distracted, stressed, no
time for sleep or friends? The symptoms and signs of ADD are very common
in women without it too. ADD in general, in adults and in females are
all subject that have gained more attention in recent years, leading
many more people to wonder "is this me?" A website can make a woman
aware that there is a possibility of a treatable condition underlying
all this. But only a woman's doctor can say more definitively. Starting
with her family doctor is a good option. A family doctor can make the
initial assessment and referral to psychologists or others. Community
mental health organizations can be found in the yellow pages and are
another good starting point. For a more in depth picture or adult female
ADD before consulting a health professional, get the book in the
references to this article.