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    6 Surprising Signs of Adult ADHD

    enJune 19, 2023

    About this Episode

    More and more adults are being diagnosed with ADHD, so today, we are unpacking the 6 surprising signs of ADHD. I also tell you why so many women, in particular, go undiagnosed.

     

    This episode is deeply personal, but my story is shared by so many women.

    I lived my entire life with symptoms of ADHD and crushing anxiety because of it. But I was never diagnosed until the age of 47—and I found out by fluke!

    So in this episode, I go deep into what ADHD is: a neurological disorder that affects the brain structurally and chemically. I explain the signs and the science behind what is going on in your brain to help you live a better life.

    If you ever wondered if you have ADHD, if you feel like menopause is making it worse, or if you struggle with anxiety, an eating disorder, or low self-esteem, you have to listen. All these might be symptoms of ADHD.

    This episode goes way beyond an inability to focus, because ADHD is so much more. This is an education in how your brain works, how focus works, and how to help yourself or someone in your life who may have ADHD.

    I’ve been wanting to record this episode for MONTHS, but I didn’t want to do it until I had first-class resources for you. Because every time I talk about my ADHD story, we get an avalanche of questions from listeners.

    I have regrets about that lost time when I did not know I had ADHD, and I don’t want you to have them, too.

     

    Today you’ll learn:

     

    *why women have been profoundly underdiagnosed

    *four key differences between genders with ADHD

    *why my diagnosis was both a blessing and a curse

    *the surprising way most women find out

    *six symptoms of ADHD that most people don’t catch

    *the connection between anxiety and depression and ADHD

    *resources and hacks to help you take charge over your symptoms

     

    Xo Mel 

     

    In this episode, you’ll learn:



     

    • 2:44: The surprising backdoor way I was diagnosed with ADHD.
    • 6:30: What I learned about the “lost generation” that has blown me away.
    • 7:45: A terrifyingly important statistic that led to this podcast episode.
    • 9:00: The definition of ADHD that may make you feel better about yours.
    • 10:15: Why are women underdiagnosed? The differences in symptoms.
    • 19:30: This is how ADHD impacts your brain.
    • 22:30: Breaking this myth about this symptom of ADHD.
    • 24:45: A really clear metaphor to explain how your brain silences noise, or doesn’t.
    • 32:00: How is it I have ADHD, yet I can hyper-focus?
    • 34:00: More surprising symptoms of ADHD that might make your relationships hard.
    • 38:00: This one hack helps me get birthday gifts for others on time.
    • 40:00: The jobs I loved because they worked well with ADHD.
    • 43:45: Now here’s the good news!
    • 45:30: A predictive statistic about children that you’re going to want to hear.

     

    Disclaimer

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Late diagnosis of ADHD in women can lead to struggles with anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Awareness of gender differences and seeking resources and support can help manage symptoms and empower individuals to thrive.
    • Awareness and resources are vital to properly identifying and managing ADHD, especially in girls who are at a higher risk for self-harm and suicide attempts. Seek professional help if you suspect you have the condition.
    • Women with ADHD often present internal symptoms that differ from men, making diagnosis difficult. Proper treatment can prevent long-term mental health implications and significantly reduce symptoms by impacting neurological communication and chemical balance. Seek professional treatment for relief.
    • ADHD is not a flaw but a strength linked to success. Late diagnosis may cause harmful effects. Seeking professional help can bring a better future.
    • Seeking professional help for diagnosis and understanding the symptoms and consequences of ADHD is crucial for an improved life. The prefrontal cortex plays a vital role in executive functioning and organizing thoughts and actions, making it essential to address ADHD.
    • Attention is more than just focusing on something and improving attention requires training the prefrontal cortex's ability to suppress noise and switch focus, which is crucial in learning, work, and relationships.
    • ADHD affects the brain's ability to concentrate due to structural and chemical changes. Knowing the lesser-known symptoms of Adult ADHD and taking appropriate measures can help manage the disorder.
    • ADHD is more than just a focus issue; it affects emotions, decision-making, and cognitive flexibility. Understanding the complexities of adult ADHD can lead to better management and support for those who suffer, including those who remain undiagnosed.
    • Adults with ADHD can manage their struggles with organization, time management, and impulse control by setting up systems such as phone reminders and Google calendars. Understanding that these challenges are due to ADHD, not personal failure, is crucial in developing coping mechanisms and moving towards success.
    • Identifying and accepting symptoms of ADHD without self-blame can empower individuals to find jobs or environments that fit their unique strengths and needs. Reframing ADHD as a part of oneself rather than a flaw can lead to healthier choices. Proactive steps can help to live with it.
    • Treating ADHD early with a combination of medication, behavioral therapy, and natural supplements can improve outcomes later in life. Ignoring ADHD and leaving it untreated can lead to negative impacts like addiction, depression, and anxiety. Make informed decisions by exploring various options and consulting experts.
    • Talking to your doctor and seeking therapy can help diagnose ADHD and improve mental health. Take time to learn about ADHD, its impacts, and available treatments. Prioritize your mental health and don't be afraid to seek support.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    Understanding ADHD in Women: The Impact on Mental Health and Strategies to Thrive

    Late diagnosis of ADHD in women is common and can lead to profound struggles throughout life, including anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Understanding the differences in how ADHD affects boys and girls, why it's often undiagnosed in women, and the connection to other mental health issues is crucial for empowering ourselves and loved ones. There is good news, though. With resources and support, we can manage ADHD and thrive. This personal story from Mel Robbins shows how one family's journey with ADHD led to her own diagnosis at age 47, and how it impacted her life. The conversation around ADHD is important for everyone to have, regardless of gender.

    The Importance of Proper Diagnosis and Understanding of ADHD in Girls.

    Mel Robbins shares her personal experience of being diagnosed with ADHD at 47 years old after years of being misdiagnosed with anxiety and depression. She highlights the importance of proper diagnosis and understanding of ADHD in girls, as research shows that girls with undiagnosed ADHD are at a higher risk for self-harm and suicide attempts. She emphasizes the need for awareness and resources to help individuals properly identify and manage ADHD, and encourages listeners to seek professional help if they suspect they have the condition.

    Understanding Adult ADHD in Women: Symptoms and Implications

    ADHD is a chronic neurobiologic disorder that affects the brain's structural and chemical capabilities, and it is highly inheritable. Girls and women with ADHD often present different internal symptoms than boys, such as daydreaming, disorganization, and self-blame. The diagnosis and treatment of ADHD are crucial in preventing long-term mental health implications such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Unfortunately, women have been underdiagnosed for decades as the disorder was initially only studied in boys. However, understanding the six surprising signs of adult ADHD and seeking professional treatment can provide relief and positive outcomes. Proper diagnosis and therapy can significantly reduce symptoms by positively impacting neurological communica-tion and chemical balance in the brain.

    The Struggles of Girls with ADHD

    Girls with ADHD often suffer in silence, as their symptoms are mostly internal and they feel immense pressure to conform. Undiagnosed ADHD can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and self-loathing. It is crucial to understand that there is nothing wrong with you if you have ADHD, and in fact, it is correlated with being a successful entrepreneur, problem solver, and risk-taker. Girls tend to present symptoms later than boys, and it is essential to get a formal diagnosis to prevent the negative outcomes associated with untreated ADHD. Dyslexia can also be a comorbidity with ADHD, and it is often misdiagnosed as anxiety. Seeking help and understanding can lead to a brighter future for individuals with ADHD.

    The Impact of ADHD on Executive Functioning and Life of Women.

    Mel Robbins talks about ADHD in women and ADHD in herself. She shares surprising signs of ADHD in adults that are often ignored or missed. Mel emphasizes seeking professional help for diagnosis. ADHD impacts the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for executive functioning and organizing thoughts, actions, and emotions. The prefrontal cortex is compared to a secretary or phone operator's switcher that helps plan and organize things. The research on ADHD is conclusive, and it is essential to understand the symptoms and consequences of ADHD to improve oneself and create a better life.

    The Prefrontal Cortex and Attention Regulation

    The prefrontal cortex plays the role of an orchestra conductor in the brain by switching between two neural networks that regulate thoughts, actions, and emotions. Attention is not just focusing on something, but also the skill of directing and holding attention in appropriate ways, which requires the prefrontal cortex to suppress noise within and outside the body. The ability to pay attention is essential in learning, work, and relationships. ADHD is not about the inability to focus, but the inability to direct attention appropriately. Therefore, improving attention requires improving the top-down function of the prefrontal cortex to silence noise and switch to focusing on specific tasks.

    Understanding Adult ADHD and its Effects on Attention and Focus.

    People with ADHD struggle with paying attention because their prefrontal cortex has trouble quieting the distracting noise in their minds and environment. This makes it harder for them to switch between external distractions and focusing on a task. ADHD is a neurobiological disorder that affects the brain structurally and chemically, which leads to a lack of sufficient blood flow and proper communication between brain parts. This results in a sleepy brain that needs more mental fuel to activate the network that helps one focus. People with ADHD also tend to chase dopamine dumps like shopping or alcohol. Understanding the lesser-known signs of Adult ADHD, and taking proper measures can help individuals manage this condition.

    Beyond the Myths: Understanding the Complexities of ADHD in Adults

    ADHD is not just the inability to focus. It impacts the prefrontal cortex, which affects attention's ability to tune out external and internal noise and ramp up parts of the brain, which requires switching networks. Other lesser-known signs of adult ADHD include difficulty controlling emotions, impulsive shopping, and overspending. ADHD can cause mental exhaustion, making it tough to tolerate frustration and tiredness, leading to an emotional outburst. Individuals with ADHD also tend to hyper-focus on certain situations while being unable to pay attention in others. Therefore, understanding ADHD's complexities beyond the conventional myths is essential for better management and support, especially for adults with undiagnosed ADHD.

    Managing ADHD Challenges for Success

    Adults with ADHD struggle with more than just shopping addiction. They face challenges with alcohol, drugs, impulsive behaviors, and time management due to structural issues in the prefrontal cortex. Many display high functioning workaholic tendencies but lack organization and struggle to suppress external noise while staying focused. Criticism towards self is another common issue, leading to constant disappointment and worry regarding relationships, birthdays, and work performance. Setting up systems like phone reminders and Google calendars can help manage these challenges, providing relief from feeling like a 'shitty friend' or horrendous employee. Understanding that these struggles are due to ADHD rather than personal failure is essential in developing coping mechanisms and moving towards success.

    Coping with ADHD: Recognizing Symptoms and Accepting Yourself

    ADHD can manifest in different ways in different people, like being unable to focus in a noisy office environment or struggling to stay organized and on top of to-do lists. Recognizing these symptoms and accepting them without self-blame or hate can empower individuals to cope with ADHD in positive ways. Finding a job or environment that allows for movement and change, like waitressing or working at a legal aid office, can be beneficial for those with an ADHD brain. Additionally, reframing ADHD as a unique part of oneself rather than a flaw to be fixed can lead to healthier and more empowering choices. Knowing about ADHD and understanding its impact can help individuals take proactive steps to live with it.

    Why Treating ADHD Early is Important for Better Mental Health Outcomes

    Stimulants like Adderall can be effective for treating ADHD and improving mental health outcomes later in life. Getting professional help and exploring interventions like medication and behavioral therapy, as well as natural supplements is important. Studies have shown that children with ADHD have far better outcomes if treated earlier in life. Untreated kids are at a higher tendency towards addiction and not great outcomes over the years. It can also lead to depression and anxiety, among other negative impacts. The choice of treating a child with caffeine or other stimulants is deeply personal. It's important to understand and explore the various options, consult experts and make informed decisions.

    Seeking Help for ADHD and Mental Health.

    If you suspect you or someone you know has ADHD, start by talking to your pediatrician or general practitioner. They can help guide you towards a diagnosis and recommend resources. You can also seek help from a therapist or online talk therapy platforms. It's important to learn more about ADHD, its symptoms, and impacts so that you are better empowered to seek something. If you're experiencing anxiety, depression, or an eating disorder, it's essential to get help. There are medications and non-stimulant interventions available that can positively impact the prefrontal cortex. Don't be afraid to seek help and support. It's okay not to be okay. Finally, remember to take a break and prioritize your mental health.

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