ADHD Awareness Month: ADHD in Women
In October, we celebrate neurodiversity in the form of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD! ADHD Awareness Month is about raising awareness of symptoms, treatments, and dispelling myths about those with ADHD. If you’d like to donate time or money to an organization built for those with ADHD, CHADD would be an excellent place to start.
The answer is absolutely no - ADHD certainly affects women in a significant way. One reason for the disparity in diagnosis is women tend to mask symptoms of ADHD better. Masking is the tendency to pass off symptoms as typical, normalized behavior. For example, a boy who speaks out of turn may be immediately recognized as having a symptom of ADHD, but girls who speak out of turn may be characterized as “chatty”. Masking is so prevalent in the female ADHD community that studies estimate up to 75% of women with ADHD go undiagnosed.
If you’re a woman with ADHD or you suspect you have ADHD, what resources do you have? Good news - the pros at Rise and Thrive have some holistic recommendations for women with ADHD!
Flower Essence Therapy
Flower essence therapy is a holistic-based method of treating a variety of symptoms. A flower essence blend is similar to essential oils, but instead of using all of the plant parts, just the flower is used. Each essence mixture is tailored per person, so two people who go in for therapy with anxiety may have two totally different blends.
Flower essence therapy works through harnessing a flower’s vibrational energy. The vibrational energy of the flower is then used to adjust a person’s vibrational energy. We all have our own electromagnetic field, just like plants and animals. Think of flower essence like a tuning fork - if you strike one and bring it to another, it will bring the other to that frequency.
Our resident Flower Essence Therapist, Caroline Barefoot, has a recipe of her own for ADHD. Her blend uses flowers like white chestnut to help calm mental chatter and hornbeam to help prevent procrastination - two symptoms of ADHD in women. Her blends also help folx feel grounded and more in-tune with the world around them.
Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene is our pattern around rest. This includes how much we sleep at night, if we nap during the day, and the quality of the sleep we get. It also involves our bedtime routine - do we look at screens in bed? Do we have scheduled wind-down time? Are we going to bed at the same time every night?
Finding adequate rest can be hard with ADHD. Those with ADHD may experience difficulty falling or staying asleep, fatigue although well-rested, difficulty waking up in the morning, and inability to rest during the day even when needed.
How can you combat the sleep problem? First, start with making an environment that is geared towards rest. Your bedroom should be at a temperature that feels comfortable for you, have little to no light streaming in, and not have distractions like television playing. The next step involves your routine; try to unplug thirty minutes to an hour before sleep to give your brain a chance to wind down. This would be a great time to engage in some relaxation exercises, like meditation or yoga. Finally, if sleep is just not happening for you, you may want to talk to your doctor about supplements such as melatonin.
Make Lifestyle Adjustments as Necessary
Let’s face it - women tend to have many, many hats. We can be mothers, spouses, daughters, siblings, employees, bosses … and we try to juggle it all! For women with ADHD, trying to keep track of so many different roles and be the primary caretaker and all-around girlboss can be extra exhausting.
As a woman with ADHD, reflect on your current lifestyle. Make a list of all your expectations for yourself. Do you expect yourself to …
Be the primary caretaker of your kids?
Work 40 hours a week?
Take care of the majority of the household chores?
Keep track of the kid’s doctor’s appointments, soccer practices, flute recitals, and more?
Check in with your parents and support them when needed?
Cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner for multiple family members?
If this sounds like a day in the life for you, it may be time to set some boundaries; this list is for superhumans, not women who need rest and support. Assess what tasks you can hand off, and which tasks may need accommodations due to ADHD; for example, you may want to ask for accommodations at work or find a better tracking method for the kids’ schedules.
We hope this blog post helped educate you on ADHD in women, along with some holistic approaches to help with ADHD! If you’d like to talk to our counselors, we’d love to listen. Even better - if you’d like to schedule with Caroline for Flower Essence Therapy, we’d love to hear from you! Reach out today to be set up for psychotherapy, flower essence therapy, or both. We look forward to hearing from you!