Katherine Ellison has achieved many things in her life. She has been a foreign correspondent in Latin America, the author of 5 books on practical neuroscience, and a Pulitzer Prize winner at age 27. She also has ADHD. One of her most popular works, Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention, was a memoir and journalistic overview of a year spent coping with ADHD after both she and her 12-year-old son were diagnosed with the disorder. In fact, it was her son’s diagnosis that ultimately led to her own.
In addition to the typical cognitive burden that ADHD can bring, women with ADHD also have to deal with an ever fluctuating hormone environment. Changes in estrogen can intensify the symptoms of ADHD, particularly during the menstrual cycle, puberty and menopause. It is important for women diagnosed with ADHD to be aware of how estrogen affects their condition, and to take steps to lessen the impact.
Researchers are now beginning to understand that ADHD manifests differently in adult men and women. ADHD in women is often difficult to spot. For this reason, many women unnecessarily suffer the feelings of overwhelm, exhaustion, depression and inadequacy that come with ADHD. There are signs which may indicate whether a woman has the condition, and steps she can take to get a diagnosis and treatment to improve the quality of life.