"That Explains Everything!" Discovering My ADHD in Adulthood

"Many women may cruise along until, as in my case, things start to fall apart. The unraveling often coincides with marriage and having kids. Suddenly, you have to organize not just yourself, but the kids, too. These added responsibilities can push an ADHD mom’s stress-o-meter over the top." Read one woman's story of a late ADHD diagnosis, blooming self understanding, and effective treatment — at last!

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Women and Their Symptoms

Kenny Handelman, a child psychiatrist and an adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of Western Ontario in London, calls ADHD adults' observational abilities a paradox.

While we’re inattentive to some social cues, droning on while the listener checks her watch and mutters, “Gotta go…,” we can also use our constant scanning ability to gather cues that others don’t get, coming up with intuitive insights and responses. The problem is, sometimes we can’t stop ourselves from blurting out our thoughts.

When I started public school, ADHD wasn’t even a glint in a child psychiatrist’s eye. Kids like me were out-of-control demon spawn, creating mayhem in class, community, and home. After professionals began to recognize ADHD, about 25 years ago, it was mostly boys who were diagnosed.

While impulsive blurting and hyperactivity have been hallmarks of my life, females are typically not blessed with the H-for-hyperactivity part. Instead of racing around classrooms with the boys (and me), girls stare dreamily out the window. And so it continues into adulthood — 90 percent of women diagnosed with the condition fall into the inattentive type of ADHD (the condition comes in several flavors, but all are clinically known as ADHD).

Next: Living the ADD Life

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TAGS: Adult ADD: Late Diagnosis, ADHD Parents,

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