The little-known signs of ADHD in women I wish I knew earlier: ‘We’re great at pretending to be bubbly and fun’
- Messy drawers and running late are signs of ADHD in women
- READ MORE: Five common ADHD behaviours
Experts have shared the ways ADHD can present itself in women from always running late to struggling to complete tasks and finding it hard to maintain friendships.
Emma, from the UK, has built a huge following online for sharing details from her ‘honest ADHD life’, signs of the condition and advice on living with it.
She said there are a number of ways Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder present in women versus men.
Emma explained women with ADHD are more inattentive and that their hyperactivity happens mentally rather than physically.
Psychologist Dr Daniel Amen added you could have the condition if you have a ‘chronic pattern’ of being late and your cupboards and drawers look like ‘a bomb went off’.
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Experts are sharing the ways in which ADHD presents in women including wanting a tidy and organised space but being daunted by cleaning tasks (stock image)
‘We usually show up on the inattentive side and this can look like having no hobbies or losing interest in things very quickly,’ Emma explained in a video.
‘Constant overwhelm or overthinking which is usually because the hyperactive side is in our brain and it doesn’t stop – ever.’
She said women with ADHD change their image a lot moving from different looks in a short amount of time and never know what their true identity is.
‘It can show up as anxiety and depression and that is why a lot of us went misdiagnosed because we were diagnosed with those instead,’ Emma said.
‘However, they usually are a by-product of ADHD going undiagnosed and not having the right support or treatment.’
Another sign is needing your space to be tidy and organised to feel calmer but not knowing where to start.
‘Inevitably it never really is or it’s a lot of work to consistently keep your home organised and tidy and this brings a lot of shame for a lot of us constantly,’ Emma said.
‘The problem isn’t that we don’t want to organise, it’s almost like we just don’t know how, we don’t even know where to start.’
Similarly, feeling overwhelmed by a task can be a sign even if it is a task you really want to get done and burning out very easily.
Some of the signs of ADHD in women (afab or anyone who relates to this really) can you relate? 💜 #adhdinwomenandgirls #adhdwomensymptoms #adhdsignsandsymptoms #neurodivergenttiktok #adhdgirls #lostgirls
READ MORE: What are the symptoms of ADHD? I was diagnosed at 30 – here’s what I want everyone to know after missing the signs for years
‘Constantly feeling behind peers but not really expressing it and not really speaking up so you kind of float along, especially in school,’ Emma added.
‘Really under the surface you’re struggling a lot and you don’t really know why and you feel like you’re just behind everyone and not as good as everyone around you.’
Women with ADHD can often appear ‘bubbly’, ‘happy go lucky’ and as ‘the fun one’ with a good sense of humour but feel anxious on the inside.
‘Behind the scenes, inside its a lot of internal anxiety ruminating, rejection sensitivity, not feeling good enough and quite a lot of critical thoughts about oneself,’ Emma explained.
‘Essentially we are very good at hiding our problems and acting as though everything’s okay when it’s not.’
Emma’s final sign of ADHD in women is when they struggle to maintain long-lasting connections with people.
Dr Daniel Amen (pictured) said one sign of ADHD can be ‘chronic procrastination’: ‘You put things off, you just don’t get stuff done on time until someone is mad at you to do it’
‘If we do have lots of connections, they’re very rarely meaningful and they don’t really feel anything beyond surface level other than a select few people,’ she said.
‘We tend to keep our circle quite small because of that.’
Dr Amen echoed some of Emma’s points saying there are many signs of ADHD that lie outside attention and hyperactivity problems.
‘If you’re late, it’s one of the most common things. People who have ADHD actually don’t start getting ready to go until that little voice in their head goes, ‘Oh my god, I’m late’,’ he said.
‘Sometimes maybe only by 10 minutes but it’s a chronic pattern that you’re late.’
Another ADHD indicator is ‘chronic procrastination’.
Do you have any of these? #ADHD
‘You put things off, you just don’t get stuff done on time until someone is mad at you to do it,’ Dr Amen said.
‘If your book bag, your desk, your closet, your drawers, it sort of looks like a bomb went off in there that’s a sign you might have ADHD,’ he added.
The clips prompted hundreds of women to share their experiences getting diagnosed and living with ADHD.
‘I have thousands of interests but zero actual hobbies, it’s so frustrating! I spend an absolute fortune of something and then I’m like, ‘Meh I’m over you’,’ one viewer wrote.
‘I’ve never even thought about ADHD and this has just practically described me as a whole,’ a second replied.
‘It’s taken 32 years, two kids and TikTok to have the light bulb moment. Got referred earlier this year and finally understanding myself!’ a mum commented.
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