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The Complex Connection: Adult ADHD in Women & the Perils of Procrastination

What is ADHD?

ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that commonly begins in childhood but can often go undiagnosed. ADHD is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that significantly interferes with functioning or development.

There are three primary subtypes of ADHD:

  1. Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: This subtype involves difficulties primarily with attention and organization. Individuals may have trouble sustaining attention, following instructions, staying organized, and often seem forgetful or easily distracted.

  2. Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: This subtype involves hyperactivity and impulsivity without significant inattention. Individuals may fidget, have difficulty staying seated, talk excessively, interrupt others, or act impulsively without thinking about consequences.

  3. Combined Presentation: This subtype involves a combination of both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. It's the most common type of ADHD.

The exact cause of ADHD is not entirely understood, but it's believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors. There is evidence that supports an increase in adult ADHD diagnoses since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Evidence is based around the negative impacts of isolation on brain function, and the various ways adults employed coping strategies to help mitigate the impacts of isolation.

ADHD, Adults & Procrastination

ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) can manifest differently in adult women compared to men, and it's often under-diagnosed or misdiagnosed in females. Some women may not display the typical hyperactive symptoms associated with ADHD but might experience difficulties primarily related to inattention, impulsivity, and disorganization. For me, procrastination became a part of my day-to-day life. I would find myself putting off undesirable tasks or preoccupying myself with less important tasks such as doing the dishes (referred to as “productive procrastination”, or “procrastivity”) and procrastinate what needed to be done…like a blog post for example! As someone who never procrastinated before… I was unsure how to deal with it in a healthy way. Procrastination can be a common challenge for adults, especially women, with ADHD.

Here are some reasons why ADHD might contribute to procrastination in adult women:

Difficulty with Focus and Attention: Individuals with ADHD often struggle with sustaining attention on tasks, leading to difficulty initiating tasks or staying focused on them, which can result in procrastination.

Executive Functioning Issues: Challenges with executive functions, such as planning, organizing, and prioritizing tasks, can make it harder for individuals to break tasks into manageable steps, leading to procrastination.

Impulsive behaviours: Impulsive behaviours may lead to prioritizing immediate and more enjoyable activities over important tasks, contributing to procrastination.

Emotional Dysregulation: Women with ADHD might experience emotional dysregulation, leading to anxiety or stress, which can hinder task initiation and increase procrastination.

Perfectionism: Some individuals with ADHD may also struggle with perfectionism, fearing that they won't complete tasks perfectly, leading to avoidance and procrastination.

Whether you can relate to or identify yourself in the above reasons, it is important to acknowledge these behaviours can be dealt with in a healthy way. Guilt and shame are two emotions that are common for women to experience from a variety of daily interactions or thoughts. Procrastination can support the development of negative cycles of emotion, often creating feelings of guilt and shame in women.

How to Manage Procrastination?

Addressing procrastination in adult women with ADHD can involve a combination of strategies:

  • Seeking Professional Help: Consulting with a healthcare professional, can lead to a proper personalized treatment plan, which may include therapy, medication, or behavioural interventions.

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT can help individuals identify and address thought patterns and behaviours contributing to procrastination.

  • Skill Building: Learning organization, time management, and planning skills can be beneficial. Breaking tasks into smaller, manageable parts and using tools like planners or reminders might help.

  • Creating a Supportive Environment: Establishing routines, minimizing distractions, and creating a conducive workspace can aid in task initiation and completion.

  • Medication: In some cases, medication prescribed by a healthcare professional may help manage ADHD symptoms, aiding in reducing procrastination.

It's crucial for individuals experiencing difficulties with procrastination and suspecting they might have ADHD to seek professional guidance for proper evaluation and tailored support. I encourage you to reach out to our helpful therapists if this article resonates with you. We are here to support you in your journey to improving your mental health. Don’t procrastinate! Reach out to us today!

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