The Little-Known Signs of ADHD in Women I Wish I’d Known Earlier: ‘We’re Good at Pretending to Be Vibrant and Fun’

Experts have shared the ways ADHD can present itself in women, from always being late to having trouble completing tasks and finding it difficult to maintain friendships.

Emma, ​​from Britain, has built a huge following online for sharing details of her ‘honest life with ADHD’, signs of the condition and advice on how to deal with it.

She said there are a number of ways that attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder occurs in women versus men.

Emma explained that women with ADHD are more inattentive and their hyperactivity is mental rather than physical.

Psychologist Dr Daniel Amen added that you could have the condition if you have a ‘chronic pattern’ of being late and your cupboards and drawers look like ‘a bomb went off’.

Scroll down for video

Experts share the ways ADHD manifests in women, including wanting a tidy and organized space but being put off by cleaning tasks (stock image)

“We tend to appear on the inattentive side and this can seem like we don’t have any hobbies or lose interest in things very quickly,” Emma explained in an video.

‘Constant overwhelm or overthinking, which is usually because the hyperactive side is in our brain and it never stops.’

She said that women with ADHD change their image greatly in a short period of time through different looks and never know what their true identity is.

“It can manifest as anxiety and depression and that’s why many of us have been misdiagnosed because we’ve been diagnosed instead,” Emma said.

“However, they are usually a byproduct of ADHD going undiagnosed and not receiving the proper support or treatment.”

Another sign is that your space needs to be tidy and organized so you feel calmer, but you don’t know where to start.

“Inevitably, it never really is, or it’s a lot of work to keep your home consistently organized and tidy, and this brings a lot of constant shame for many of us,” Emma said.

“The problem isn’t that we don’t want to organize, it’s almost like we just don’t know how, we don’t even know where to start.”

Likewise, feeling overwhelmed by a task can be a sign, even if it’s a task you really want to get done and burn out very easily.

“You constantly feel behind your peers, but you can’t really express that or speak out, so you’re kind of floating along, especially at school,” Emma added.

“Really beneath the surface you’re struggling a lot and you don’t really know why, and you feel like you’re just behind everyone and not as good as everyone around you.”

Women with ADHD often look ‘bubbly’, ‘happy go lucky’ and ‘the fun one’ with a good sense of humor, but feel anxious inside.

‘Behind the scenes, inside, there’s a lot of internal turmoil, sensitivity to rejection, not feeling good enough and quite a lot of critical thoughts about yourself,’ Emma explained.

“Essentially, we are very good at hiding our problems and pretending that everything is fine when it is not.”

Emma’s final sign of ADHD in women is when they have difficulty maintaining long-term relationships with people.

Dr.  Daniel Amen (pictured) said a sign of ADHD can be 'chronic procrastination': 'You put things off, you just can't get things done on time until someone is mad at you for doing it'

Dr. Daniel Amen (pictured) said a sign of ADHD can be ‘chronic procrastination’: ‘You put things off, you just can’t get things done on time until someone is mad at you for doing it’

“When we have a lot of connections, they are rarely meaningful and don’t really feel anything beyond the surface level, except for a select few people,” she said.

‘As a result, we tend to keep our circle quite small.’

Dr. Amen echoed some of Emma’s points, saying that there are many signs of ADHD beyond attention and hyperactivity problems.

“If you’re late, that’s one of the most common things. People with ADHD actually don’t start getting ready until that little voice in their head says, ‘Oh my God, I’m late,'” he said.

“Maybe only ten minutes sometimes, but it’s a chronic pattern of being late.”

Another ADHD indicator is ‘chronic procrastination’.

“You procrastinate, you just don’t get things done on time until someone is mad at you for doing it,” Dr. Amen said.

“If it looks like your book bag, your desk, your closet, your drawers in there has exploded, then that’s a sign that you may have ADHD,” he added.

The clips prompted hundreds of women to share their experiences with being diagnosed with ADHD and living with ADHD.

‘I have thousands of interests but no real hobbies, it’s so frustrating! I spend an absolute fortune on something and then I’m like, ‘Meh, I’m over you,'” one viewer wrote.

“I’ve never thought about ADHD and this practically describes me as a whole,” a second replied.

“It took 32 years, two kids and TikTok, for the light bulb moment to happen. I was referred earlier this year and finally understand myself!’ one mother commented.