ADHD is something only 4% of adults in the U.S. are diagnosed with but almost half of people with ADHD do not receive any kind of treatment for it. For women with ADHD, those numbers are worse. In fact, even from a young age, girls are less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than their male counterparts. This is often because it presents differently in girls than in boys. In general, boys are diagnosed because they exhibit the traditional hyperactivity associated with ADHD, where girls are more likely to exhibit traits of inattentiveness. This difference can keep girls from even being diagnosed well into college or adulthood.
Women with ADHD Suffer in Silence
According to CHADD, women with ADHD often don’t get diagnosed until they recognize the disorder in themselves. Oftentimes this is because a child has been diagnosed. Before that, they simply suffer with bouts of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Over time, women suffering from ADHD may find themselves struggling with work, budgeting, keeping track of appointments, paying bills, and organizing their lives and homes.
Organization Tips for Women with ADHD
“Some women seek treatment for ADHD because their lives are out of control―their finances may be in chaos; their paperwork and record-keeping are often poorly managed; they may struggle unsuccessfully to keep up with the demands of their jobs; and they may feel even less able to keep up with the daily tasks of meals, laundry and life management. Other women are more successful in hiding their ADHD, struggling valiantly to keep up with increasingly difficult demands by working into the night and spending their free time trying to “get organized.” But whether a woman’s life is clearly in chaos or whether she is able to hide her struggles, she often describes herself as feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.” – CHADD
The typical approach to organization doesn’t always work for women who have ADHD. Our team works with women who have ADHD on a regular basis. We’ve learned that it can be extremely overwhelming to try to organize and declutter everything at once. It’s best to address the most pressing issues first and work slowly through remaining challenges at a pace the woman is comfortable with. And really, shouldn’t that be the approach to organizing for everyone, whether they have ADHD or not?
Perfection Is Not the Goal
When working with someone who has ADHD, the first effort we make is in helping them understand that perfection is not the goal. The goal is to reduce stress and make life more enjoyable. This is accomplished by tackling the disorganization that creates stress and friction or causes grief. It could involve finding a system that works for dealing with mail every day so that bills get paid on time. It could also mean creating a decluttered space where you can get away from the chaos for a few minutes a day. The place to begin is where the pain is the worst.
Professional organizing can help women with ADHD regain control of their lives and reduce stress. If you have ADHD and feel like you need help organizing your life, please get in touch.
Read more about ADHD