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10 Books Every Woman Should Read After Her ADHD Diagnosis

Until quite recently, ADHD was considered a male pediatric disorder. This means that generations of women — and their symptoms — were wrongly diagnosed, ridiculed, and/or ignored. If you are among the women recently diagnosed and coming to terms with a lifetime of false labels, these books may bring relief and clarity.

woman reading a book about her ADHD symptoms
photo by Annie Spratt
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Terror. Relief. Anger. Resentment. Confusion. Resolve.

The range of emotions following a mid-life ADHD diagnosis are nothing short of dizzying. The realization that you aren’t somehow character-deficient, morally wrong, or lazy is balanced by the sheer rage at being called those things wrongfully your whole life.

Whatever your dominant post-diagnosis emotions, the best antidote is knowledge. To move forward, you must get all the information about your condition that you can. But where to go and who to trust? To help answer that we’ve compiled this must-read list of reader-recommended books for every newly diagnosed woman with ADHD. Use these to help you feel more informed, more confident, and more in control — maybe a little less alone, too.

Women with Attention Deficit Disorder is a great book for people who have been recently diagnosed with ADHD
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"Women with Attention Deficit Disorder"

Women with Attention Deficit Disorder: Embrace Your Differences and Transform Your Life
by Sari Solden
$9.99, Kindle
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Written by a psychotherapist, this book explains how millions of girls and women go undiagnosed because they look withdrawn, inattentive, and overwhelmed instead of hyperactive. It discusses treatment, uses real-life case histories that draw vivid parallels to your own experiences, and examines the real-world consequences faced by women with ADHD, like not meeting societal expectations — and “depression, disorganization, anxiety, and underachievement.” There’s also a brand-new chapter on friendship challenges, which many women with ADHD know all too well but rarely discuss.

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"You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!"

You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!: The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder
by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo
$15.64 paperback
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This book has sold more than a quarter of a million copies — with good reason. It’s one of the most popular guides to ADHD. It was the first book on ADHD written specifically for adults. And it deals with unique adult experiences, offers moral support, and explains practical how-tos.

The new edition also deals with new medications, ADHD and sexuality, and the differences between male and female ADD. Like previous editions, it still offers advice on how to get along with friends and family, how to minimize stress and discord, how to get organized and improve memory, and more. Of this book, our readers said, “It was nice to have an outlook on myself and my wiring that wasn't so negative.” Another added, “Sooooo validating. It was the first one I read and just the title helped me.”

[Self-Test: ADHD Symptoms in Women and Girls]

queen of distraction
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"The Queen of Distraction"

The Queen of Distraction: How Women with ADHD Can Conquer Chaos, Find Focus, and Get It All Done
by Terry Matlen
$9.99, Kindle
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Written by a psychologist, this book delves into the practical aspects of being a woman living with ADHD. It’s meant to help women achieve “focus and balance” in all their areas of life, including “home, work, and relationships,” with practical tips on meal-planning, relationships, parenting, hormones, and more. The book aims to help you thrive, not just survive, with your ADHD.

Our readers say that, “I love this book because it’s written by an adult woman with ADHD, and... that is not an easy book to come by.” It’s also got an introduction by well-known and respected psychologist Sari Solden.

Organizing solutions for people with adhd
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"Organizing Solutions for People with Attention Deficit Disorder"

Organizing Solutions for People With Attention Deficit Disorder: Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized
by Susan Pinsky
$13.59, paperback
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If you’re a woman with ADHD, chances are you lose your keys, eyeglasses, and/or phone on a daily basis — and that really stresses you out. This book, written by ADDitude organization expert Susan Pinsky, offers concrete ways to get yourself on track. Written in an ADHD-friendly manner with colorful graphics, sidebars, testimonials from people with ADHD, it offers tips in several areas of life: work, home, kids, and you.

All the tips, from how to organize your kids’ closets to how to pay your bills on time, are the type of concrete, actionable ideas you need to take control of your life. It also helps with things like task completion and pack-rat tendencies.

add friendly ways to organize your life
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"ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life"

ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life: Strategies that Work from an Acclaimed Professional Organizer and a Renowned ADD Clinician
by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D
$16.96, paperback
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This updated edition from professional organizer Kolberg and ADHD clinical psychologist Nadeau is a classic collaboration that offers some of the best — and most sustainable — organization solutions for adults with ADHD. There’s a lot of content here about digital distractions, organizing finances, and “coping with the ‘black hole’ of the Internet.” It offers several layers of intervention and treatment ideas, from things you can do yourself to areas in which you may need professional help.

adhd effect on marriage book
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"The ADHD Effect on Marriage"

The ADHD Effect on Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps
by Melissa Orlov
$16.95 paperback
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If you’re in a committed relationship — or even hope to find one at some point in the future — this book is a must-read. It examines the fault lines and fissures ADHD can cause in a relationship, which traditional marriage counseling can ignore, plus ways in which to work around them. The author illustrates problems like “nagging, intimacy problems, sudden anger, and memory issues” through the use of real-life couples and their solutions. It encourages both the partner with ADHD and the neurotypical partner to have equal stakes in the reconciliation of the relationship, discusses how to have hard conversations, and more.

[Free Webinar Replay: The Happiness Project for Women with ADHD]

Taking Charge of Adult ADHD is a great book for people who have been recently diagnosed with ADHD
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"Taking Charge of Adult ADHD"

Taking Charge of Adult ADHD
By Russell A. Barkley. Ph.D.
$12.30 paperback
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This book contains “step-by-step strategies for managing symptoms and reducing their harmful impact.” It includes assessment tools and skills-building exercises, and sections that address frequently asked questions and give frank answers about medications and other treatments. Moreover, Barkley offers specific how-tos to help in different areas of life, from work, finances, relationships, and more. One reader advises, “I’ve got both the ebook and audio-book of Taking Charge of Adult ADHD... I find this helps me pay CLOSE attention whilst reading it, and shut out distractions!”

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"The Disorganized Mind"

The Disorganized Mind: Coaching Your ADHD Brain to Take Control of Your Time, Tasks, and Talents
by Nancy A. Ratey, Ed.M., M.C.C., S.C.A.C.
$15.12, paperback
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Tackling disorganization from a psychological perspective, this book aims to help you change your brain patterns and your habits. The author is a professional ADHD coach; she teaches people how to imagine that things can be different, how to make choices, and how to put those choices into action to make change. She uses strategies that have worked for her clients to help you get on track, get organized, and move past your challenges into a new life without the same disorder and turmoil you’ve become used to.

The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD is a great book for people who have been recently diagnosed with ADHD
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"The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD"

The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD: An 8-Step Program for Strengthening Attention, Managing Emotions, and Achieving Your Goals
by Lidia Zylowska
$16.10
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A physician-researcher, the author has created an 8-step process for using mindfulness, or “attention and awareness training,” to overcome the distractibility, the disorganization, the strong emotions, and the self-doubt caused by ADHD. It includes practices such as “sitting meditation, body awareness, thoughtful speaking and listening, development of self-acceptance, mindful self-coaching, cultivation of a balanced view of thoughts and emotions, and more.” It also discusses how this approach can combine with more traditional therapies, such as medication, for maximal success. Readers say this book has been “super helpful,” and many of them use mindfulness to help them regulate their ADHD in other ways.

power of different book
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"The Power of Different"

The Power of Different: The Link Between Disorder and Genius
by Gail Saltz, MD
$14.44 paperback
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Many books focus on neurological difference as a detriment. The Power of Different presupposes, instead, that being non-neurotypical can be associated with great talent. These brain differences include “learning disabilities, ADD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism.”

But author Saltz doesn’t just stick to the Edisons and Einsteins; she uses examples of everyday people who have “leaned in” to their brain differences and flourished not in spite of them, but because of them. She also offers advice on how you, too, can harness your special ADHD powers for good and how your unique brain can be a source of strength rather than a focus point of weakness.

[“That Explains Everything!” Discovering My ADHD in Adulthood]

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