Psychological Services

Women and ADD

It is historically handed down from generation to generation that the needs of the family take precedence, the woman is the primary identified caretaker, and her own needs can be filled only when everyone else in the family is already taken care of. The approval of the mother is based upon the woman’s ability to multi-task. Multi-tasking is an inherent necessity to maintain the role expectations of being a wife, mother, friend, daughter, employee or employer. Multi-tasking and the responsibility to others results in far reaching consequences. It means that the woman’s career cannot take precedence. It means that she has to leave work or whatever activity she is involved in, to go home and take care of the crisis involving her children, spouse or extended family member.

If the woman is unable to balance things with the work setting, which notoriously will come second, then various scenarios may follow involving the need to work harder, stay at work longer to make up missed time while possibly being overlooked for promotions and upwardly mobile job positions. Promotions, job opportunities, or a higher level position requiring more energy become balancing issues of the family versus the job. Guilt follows, more multi-tasking events, and increased risk of failure to keep all the balls in the air.

Now add attention symptoms to the mix. Symptoms that historically wax and wane, depend upon the task, the environmental demands and the woman’s ability to compensate.

Unfortunately, too often the woman feels pulled; she cannot devote enough time to her job, to her family, to her children, to her marriage or most important, to herself. Attention symptoms increase with stress, medication that was formerly working no longer seems to produce any change in symptoms and life quickly becomes overwhelming. Sleep deprivation, an undiagnosed sleep disorder adds further stress leaving the woman at risk physically as well as emotionally. Intermittent sleep deprivation becomes a permanent condition when there are children with special needs who demand more time and energy. Anxiety changes to depression and attention symptoms increase.

What is the answer for women and ADD?

  • Maintain regular sleep hygiene, get up at the same time and go to bed at the same time. Ask your husband if he can maintain the same schedule.
  • Have the children sleep in their own beds.
  • Set aside time to accomplish the tasks that you feel you need to complete when you arrive home.
  • Arrange a schedule based upon agreement and support from your children and spouse that guarantees the completion of household tasks as well as homework.
  • Set aside time to just walk in the door, relax, play and laugh for a few moments with your family.
  • Do not multi-task when you arrive home, you have been doing this all day and are likely to be too worn out at this point to perform well.
  • Keep your plans, do not change to please those around you unless they truly need you.
  • Most important of all, realize that you are part of a team, that your family is there to help you and allow them to help out without critical or judgmental concerns of “not doing the job well enough”.

Always remember the good things about ADD:

  • Your sense of humor
  • That you never give up
  • That you are a great problem solver

Try not to underestimate:

  • Your ability and skills
  • Your courage
  • Your power
  • Your strength
  • Your ability to survive despite all odds