Dr. Ainslie Gray has been assessing and treating ADHD for two decades, so she knows a thing or two about women and ADHD. Coincidentally, her team at Toronto’s Springboard Clinic consists of all women (three coaches and two other ladies to help keep the clinic running).
Here are Dr. Gray’s top 4 tips for women with ADHD:
1. Know your symptoms. The more you understand your ADHD, the better you can explain it to the important people in your life (i.e. your husband/partner, daughter, boss, etc.). If they understand, for example, that your ADHD might make you forget things a little more often but that it also makes you an extremely empathetic shoulder to cry on, there might be fewer arguments and disappointments.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of exercise. I know you don’t want to hear another doctor tell you to hit the gym, but the studies about exercise and ADHD are far too compelling to ignore. And hey, instead of using the gym for weight loss, like so many of us do, try to imagine your time on the treadmill as fuel for the part of your brain that helps you take control of your life.
3. Set limits. Many women with ADHD suffer from high levels of anxiety because they assume the role of mother, wife/partner, and friend until their own life looks like a hurricane. Recognize that just because being a woman might make it easier to multi-task doesn’t mean it is healthy for you to take on everybody else’s tasks and needs. Knowing your limits and giving yourself permission to enforce them will make you a healthier mother, wife/partner and friend.
4. Job share at home. Challenge the stereotypical roles that men and women often assume in the household. Women often take on the role of managing families which is a significant strain on the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain affected by ADHD). Working as a team at home means being aware of everybody’s strengths in order to take pressure off each individual. Delegate with each other, so you can save yourself for your strengths!
Dr. Ainslie Gray, M.D. co-founded Springboard Clinic, a lifespan ADHD clinic in downtown Toronto. Please visit us at www.springboardclinic.com
Looking for books about ADHD in Women and Girls? Check out our top picks here.
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