What it’s like to have ADHD as a Woman

CADDAC National Director

Having raised three boys with a variety of ADHD presentations, I continue to find it fascinating how ADHD can be similar yet so different in girls and women. Unfortunately ADHD continues to be underdiagnosed in girls, resulting in many young women growing up with a significant dent in their self- esteem and wondering why things that seem simple for others can be such a struggle for them.

I just came across a wonderful article in the New York Times magazine, What It’s Like to have ADHD As a Grown Women, written by Rae Jacobson, a young woman with ADHD who grew up undiagnosed until the age of 21. The way other people treated her, their misperceptions and judgements are certainly disturbing, but the toll all of this took on her self- concept and confidence is the most heartbreaking. As she states:

“Repeated failure is destructive. It chips away at your self-confidence and eats at your resolve. It makes you hate yourself.”

Rae cites Dr. Patricia Quinn in her article. Dr. Quinn and Dr. Nadeau jointly host the ADDvance web site,, where they answer questions about ADHD with a focus on female ADHD. This is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in finding out more about ADHD in girls and women. Another great resource is a newly released up-dated version of Dr. Nadeau book, Understanding Girls with ADHD.

If you are a young woman, or know a young woman who has or thinks she may have ADHD, I strongly suggest that you read this article and access some of the numerous resources now available to assist girls and women with ADHD.

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