Around 5% of children around the world have been diagnosed with ADHD. A study found that 60% of these children will continue to live with the condition into adulthood. These children will need lifelong support to manage their ADHD. In the remaining 40% of those diagnosed, as the brain matures the condition will manifest as traits that the person will incorporate into their personality. Some people may work out how to do this by themselves. Most people will need specialist help to do this.
More boys than girls are currently diagnosed with ADHD. Symptoms of ADHD in boys are usually physical, such as excess energy or impulsivity. Boys engage in aggressive and dangerous behaviours more than girls. Boys will externalize their frustrations, so they are far more easily noticed by others in their environment.
IS ADHD A FATAL CONDITION?
It is commonly thought that ADHD is not a fatal condition. Consider the following statistics and draw your own conclusions. Those with ADHD are more likely to engage in dangerous thrill-seeking behaviours. Adults with ADHD are up to 5 times more likely to speed. It is not surprising then at adults with ADHD are nearly 50 percent more likely to be in a serious car crash. Are you surprised then that having ADHD makes you 3 times more likely to be dead by the age of 45?
ADHD is one of the most common mental health conditions. It is also the most treatable.
In addition, those with ADHD are far more likely to mismanage their finances and to be dependent on government benefit programs. I see this a lot with my clients. Those with ADHD often earn far less than they should in relation to their talents and expertise. This massively affects their lives.
IN GIRLS AND WOMEN – IT’S REAL
More girls than boys have ADD. Girls with ADD tend to display fewer external symptoms. Their difficulties are often missed or mistaken for other conditions such as anxiety and/or depression. Caregivers mistakenly assume that their problems will lessen over time. Girls with undiagnosed ADD will usually suffer from low self-esteem and mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders. They are likely to suffer in school, in other social environments and in personal relationships well into their adult lives. Girls with ADD will often fall ‘under the radar’ as they are not physically disruptive. Many do not get diagnosed at all. These problems if untreated worsen over time.
Girls and women with ADHD are often tragically wrongly diagnosed with depression and anxiety instead of ADD/ADHD. These conditions may be present, however it is important to understand the ADD/ADHD is usually the dominant condition. In most cases the ADHD condition must be treated first. Mental health practitioners must fully investigate the subtle symptoms in girls. I have seen with my clients the tragic consequences of women not getting diagnosed early enough, if ever.
ADHD IN THE WORKPLACE
ADHD in the workplace is largely unexplored. It is a huge problem. Women with ADHD in the workplace is an even bigger problem.
In the workplace, adults with ADHD are two thirds more likely to have been fired from jobs. They are three times more likely to have impulsively quit jobs. They are a third more likely to have chronic employment difficulties. Adults with ADHD are significantly more likely to have changed jobs in a given time frame than their contemporaries. Accordingly, they will often under-earn by a large margin compared to non-ADHD peers.
I have seen how the majority of my ADHD clients do not perform as well as they could in the workplace. Many of my clients have reported being misunderstood, and often bullied as a result of their challenges that often stem from their ADHD.
Here are some ADHD problems common to both men and women in the workplace:
Staying organised and focused in a meeting
Manage numerous tasks on time
Getting the boring and tedious tasks done on time
Getting projects done on time
Remembering to do tasks
Chronic disorganisation (think of papers)
Off sick more than the average employee due to stress
ADHD WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE
Women with ADHD have particular unique challenges.
The average modern woman is managing the huge pressure of having to balance her personal needs, and her family and career as well. Women with ADHD have it infinitely harder. ADHD is largely hereditary. It is very likely that if your employee is a mum, she is trying valiantly to manage her ADHD, and also managing her child’s ADHD as well.
Women with ADHD are spinning so many plates, some are bound to fall. With all the many demands that ADHD women need to manage it is not surprising that depression and anxiety are common in women with ADHD.
In addition to this, women with ADHD often suffer from low self-esteem, and their inner critic that gives no rest. This has a massive detrimental impact on work performance.
Unfortunately life brings with it traumatic events. Due to the internal challenges of ADHD, women with ADHD may find it particularly difficult to navigate through the traumatic events and balance their work life at the same time. Find out more how to manage trauma from Free Choices, a Psychological Health & Well-being Consultantcy, here.
WHAT SHOULD AN EMPLOYER DO TO ACCOMDATE THE NEEDS OF THEIR FEMALE ADHD EMPOYEES?
Under the Equality Act 2010, ADHD is considered a disability if the condition has a “substantial” and “long-term” negative effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
You have a legal duty to consider making reasonable adjustments to your female employee’s role in order for her to remain in her job. If you do not make reasonable accommodations then you employee has the right to sue you.
Your employee may be very uncomfortable revealing her ADHD to you. There is a lot of misunderstanding about ADHD. She may be afraid that if she tells you about her challenges with her ADHD she will lose her job.
The first step is that you need to become an informed employer. Educate yourself on the signs of ADHD. My book, at the end of this article is an excellent first step to understanding adult ADHD.
Next, schedule a meeting and discuss openly the challenges that your employee is facing. She may not even be aware that she is experiencing the challenges of undiagnosed ADHD. Give my book to your employee to read and start a discussion.
It is relatively easy to accommodate the ADHD needs of your employee.
Those with ADHD are often highly creative and intuitive. The most important thing you can do to improve productivity at work is to focus on your employee’s strengths and tailor the work accordingly.
To manage the ADHD challenges here are some simple strategies that will massively boost your ADHD employee’s productivity.
You can introduce flexible working hours so your female employee can be there for her children when they are home.
Encourage the use of headphones to muffle out noise and help to increase motivation when doing boring tasks.
Create work space that is away from the busy office areas.
Adapting work meetings so the information is given over using multi-modal learning.
Creating more structure in the work day so there is a clear plan of action.
Find a coach who is familiar with ADHD to mentor your employee
allow your employee to do a work swap, delegate the work that she finds particularly difficult to others in your team for example filling out forms and filing paperwork. She can then do the work for her colleagues that they find difficult, that she loves to do.
Create fun and motivational rewards to encourage good performance.
Encourage your client to move around between tasks to re-energise herself.
WHAT TO DO NEXT?
Do you think one of your female employees may have ADHD? Please understand that ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition and the symptoms do not go away by themselves. No amount of willpower will improve her ADHD. Your employee will need specific tools to manage her ADHD.
There is far more to learn about ADHD than you ever realised. ADHD is not just a focusing issue. The core of the ADHD challenge is the working memory deficit, and the emotional self-regulation deficit. Find out more about ADHD in my ground breaking book “Own Your ADHD – Discover Your True Potential” All study sources and statistics mentioned in this article can be found in the book.
My book will show you as an employer how you can put into place simple and easily doable accommodations that will massively increase the productivity and overall wellbeing of your female employees with ADHD.
Have a look at how I am helping women with ADHD in business the UK.
Book your free Discovery call and find out how you improve the productivity and wellbeing of your staff.