Older Girl Beauty

Who has Adult ADHD?

I really need to talk about females who have Adult ADHD, but I really don’t know what to say, yet. I think I just want to open up the conversation about it.

Like, do you know anyone that has it? Do YOU have it? Were you diagnosed as an adult? Do you think you really have it? Or is it a relief to be diagnosed with it? And, do you feel guilty about having it/being diagnosed with it?

I have so many questions, and fear that far too many folks don’t have any anecdotal answers for me about it. Because, apparently, diagnosing females with ADHD is a very complicated thing that has been misdiagnosed pretty much since it was identified in white, male children. Go figure. What – we only get 78% of diagnoses as men now, too? *eyeroll*


Anyway, no, I’m not diagnosed with it. But, after reading about it and self-diagnosing myself (*Thanks too much free time between jobs!), I raised the possibility with my long-term doctor, who agreed that it might be something to look at further, when I’m on insurance again and can get back in there to chat about it.

I am certain I will have more to say about this, and hopefully you might, too.

*UPDATE* I just found out that it is “ADHD Awareness Month”. I want to say “Woohoo! I’m on time for something!”, but, it’s the 7th already, so, I guess I’m late on this, too. Go me!

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  1. Jade says:

    Hey Paula,

    I was diagnosed two weeks ago after thinking I had ADD for years. I too want to find women who have been diagnosed as adults and talk. So many questions. I’m 26 about to turn 27 and have been given medication to help with the symptoms.


    1. Paula says:

      Thank you for sharing, Jade! I truly am starting to realize/think that women have been so shortchanged by the medical field for not recognizing this more. Not deliberately, just not seeing it. I sure hope, with enough attention, it will change!

      Good luck on your meds! I just took my very first dose today. 🙂

  2. Angie says:

    Hi Paula, I was dx in 2008 with adult onset ADHD as a secondary condition caused by systemic lupus with CNS involvement. I had a cerebrovascular event that scrambled my brain causing seizures and other neurological issues. I’m functioning pretty normal now but I still have attention and concentration problems. Because it was due to autoimmune in origin, my dr didn’t think I should take ADHD meds. But now that flare is over and I still have trouble focusing, I’m considering seeking meds. Thanks for discussing the issue.

    1. Paula says:

      Hi Angie – I am glad that you found a doctor that was able to drill down and find additional issues, instead of just treating the first problem. Very interesting to know that ADHD meds may have impacted your flare-ups. Since those may be under control, now really might be a good time to discuss adding in a med.
      Thank you for sharing – it’s really interesting to find out additional ways ADHD can show itself.

  3. Ashley says:

    I was diagnosed 6 months ago at age 33. I actually thought I was depressed, but it turns out it was ADHD. I never thought I had ADHD but now that I know what inattentive ADHD looks like esp in women so much of my life makes more sense. Getting on meds created such a huge difference it was like getting glasses for the first time.

    Its also genetic and I am like 99% percent sure it has been ruining my mom’s life forever, unfortunately her doctor was not as helpful as mine.

  4. Calvin Green says:

    My sister has ADHD. She was just recently diagnosed. So it was still overwhelming for her. But we’re giving her the support she needs.

  5. Christina says:

    I was diagnosed in 2010. I was diagnosed by a psychologist after seeing her for help getting through a very rough spell in my life. I then saw my primary doctor who prescribed medicine. I was 29 when I was diagnosed. Yes, I do think I “really” have it. I don’t feel guilty about having it any more than I would feel guilty about having cancer, cysts, the flu any medical issue. I think I feel more guilty about not getting diagnosed earlier in life. I won’t say it was a relief but I do know that it has truly made a difference since getting help and when I have an extended period where I have not taken meds I can tell a true difference!

  6. Kat says:

    Hi. I just wanted to chime in and say that I was diagnosed in the early 2000s when I went to see a therapist about the severe test anxiety I felt. He sent me to one of the colleges that did research on adults with ADHD and they diagnosed me with secondary ADHD due to excessive daytime sleepiness. My neurologist also diagnosed me with ADHD because I get unexplained tingling and numbness in my limbs. Apparently that’s what causes hyperactivity as it makes a person want to fidget. Most recently I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Hypersomnia, so I’ve gone full circle to the excessive daytime sleepiness. I’m happy that I’ve discovered all this now in my 20s and 30s and not after having children.

  7. Jessica Sager says:

    Me, me, me!!

    I was diagnosed as a teenager, but never followed through with anything. That was in the late ’80s.

    I struggled a lot with depression and anxiety in my early twenties, and was treated for bi-polar depression for a few years, but it never felt quite right. I had major mood differences, but the high didn’t feel like mania. (Or what I perceived it would feel, from researching the disorder.)

    When I was 28, I started seeing a new therapist who suggested revisiting the ADHD and recommended a psychiatrist who specializes in it. We pin-pointed that there were two issues that needed to be addressed: ADHD and PMS. I have always had severe PMS. Right after the mid-point of my cycle, it was a week and a half of irritability, hopelessness, rage, anxiety and paranoia. It was the impulsivity of ADHD plus the cyclical mood swings of PMS that seemed “bi-polar ish” to the two pdocs before him. (While I’m quite certain it looked like that on a patient questionnaire, I know it’s not what people with bi-polar disorder experience and I’m very much not asserting that I do!)

    We started with Zoloft to treat the PMS and I can’t believe how much better I felt. After a month, we started Adderall, which I still take today.

    I’d love to say that my life is all healed and perfect, but it’s not. I’ll turn 40 this year, married for 11 years and have 2 little peas under the roof: 6 y/o boy and 2.5 y/o girl. The last year or so has been very difficult and my inability to organize both internally and externally is taking its toll. The decades of untreated ADHD have accumulated a LOT of self-loathing and I can’t dig myself out of it. I have a couple places in mind that deal specifically with ADHD adults, and I’m making myself get counseling and help in-home to set up a system that we can mindlessly follow and get on with our lives. I’m sick of hating myself! 🙂

    On a side note, my son was diagnosed with Aspergers/ASD last year, before he entered kindergarten. In all the reading I’ve done so far on Aspergers, (they rolled that into the autism spectrum and don’t use the term any longer, but it is still useful for researching that particular grouping of characteristics) I’m pretty sure I’m on the spectrum. Both ADHD and ASD/Aspergers affect the brain’s executive functions, so there’s overlap. There isn’t a need for my to seek a formal diagnosis, but reading how to better support and understand him has led me to similar understanding of myself.

  8. Jessica Sager says:

    Another thing to add, for anyone who doesn’t yet have children but desires it in the future: do not assume that you will have to go without your medication! Find a high-risk OB-Gyn that specializes in treating mental health during pregnancy. I wish I had done this with my son. I continued to take my meds for anxiety and depression, both were acceptable “risks” weighed against the risks of a depressed and anxious pregnant lady. I just assumed that adderall would not be ok, so I didn’t bother researching it. I took Adderall while pregnant with my daughter, at the counsel of a high-risk OB. She was awesome and totally knew her stuff. I took as low of a dose as possible, to get by.

    It was very hard to find info like this online and many women who discussed it in pregnancy forums were often torn apart by the “think of the children!!” types. So I thought I’d add a bit of hope and help out there for gals like us!

    Just want to end with: talk to a doctor, if you can, before you get pregnant and as soon as you do. A specialist. Please DO NOT take my experience as medical advice. It’s just for love and encouragement!

  9. Kate Unger says:

    I agree that some diagnoses mayyy be correct, but did you know that there are nutritional deficiencies that are rampantly present as well as the the overload of toxins in the environment that have been going on for decades.
    I have seen radical change for people in short space of time in their thinking , focus and more. We are an overdiagnosed, under cared for society. Inundated with labels by doctors who dont know anything about nutrition and only know what drug they can treat a symptom for! WHICH does not solve the problem. It only treats the symptom.
    The body is the miracle and when it is given the right tools, it can become the miracle it was meant to be.
    Also from being a professional in the health industry and a woman in the human race my observation is women have abilities men will never have and they are designed in such brilliance, but we are over taxed. We cannot keep living the way we are. Working 12 hours a day and doing all the things we did before we worked so many hours in the day. We are not designed for that kind of abuse. We lack self care…and chances are pretty good its not the self care you are thinking about. The common thing in many women is feeling they are not enough, not worthy and so they try harder. Be all things to all people. I could go on…the river runs deep and so do we. we are an amazing gift. Complex, beautiful creatures inside and out. More education around helping women discover themselves and their voice and self care so they can be for themselves and then others. It is not a selfish act. It is an act of true love and compassion for how can you truly be there for others when you refuse to be there for yourself.
    I see frustration, anxiety, confusion, depression and there is so much we can do to change that. But it is clouded by the powerful advertising on this pill for this ill and so many do not seek the core, the root.
    I am in the middle of writing out my purpose for business as I am stepping into making a bigger difference and this blog has truly helped me as I am so fired up about this education. Thank you so much for your comments and the article alone!

  10. Kitty says:

    Twenty odd years ago a friend who is a therapist said she’d been diagnosed w/ADD. She went on to say that she thought my young son and I were also ADD. I took my kids to be tested. ( there isn’t really an official test, but if you know what to look for, it’s there) After the doctor had determined that yes, my kid were definitely ADD, I asked if he’d test me. He said he didn’t need to! It was clear to see I was ADD!
    That was a huge relief to find out and explained a lot. I always tested well, could save my butt at the last minute in school by writing something brilliant, but was such a daydreamer and so easily distracted that I couldn’t maintain good grades. I was quiet and shy and didn’t get in trouble, I just sort of didn’t get anywhere.
    Luckily I had an old ( drug pushing) Family Doctor that let me try several prescriptions until I got to a good combination and dosage for me. I’m also very anxious and prone to depression due to being constantly overwhelmed. So I started with an antidepressant. Well-that made me feel just fine, but I got nothing done! With the addition of a stimulant, I’m able to focus and get lots done. It took a lot of tries and eventually I ended up with generic versions of Sertraline and Concerta. Those work for me. I’m not drugged, I’m still me. I’m creative and funny and now I KNOW when I’ve forgotten something or I’m being an OCD Perfectionist. I’m not without distractions, but I can function and enjoy my life and not always feel like I’m behind or being chased by an invisible broom, to work harder! I rely on my daily lists and a routine to keep me on track. I accept that I have ideas and impulses not everybody has. I accept that I’m original and I’m going to do things differently from a lot of people. I always felt different, now I feel ok with that. I like being me!

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