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Having ADHD as a woman poses its own unique challenges. Here are some of the best books for ADHD in women, from scientific texts to memoirs.
For books that will help you be more informed patient, it’s critical to stick to established experts in the field such as Sari Solden and Edward Hallowell. If you’re looking for shared experiences, memoirs may be more suitable. In many cases, these books are a hybrid of definitive text and memoir.
Reader Favorites (these are books most frequently bought by Adulting With ADHD readers … )
A Radical Guide for Women with ADHD: Embrace Neurodiversity, Live Boldly, and Break Through Barriers
by Sari Solden and Michelle Frank
A self-guided workbook for women with ADHD that addresses the negative self-talk we so often give ourselves. Released in July 2019, it’s working off of the latest information we have on ADHD and women, although I would still add the second edition of the next book to your must-have list!
Description: A Radical Guide for Women with ADHD is the first guided workbook for women with ADHD designed to break the cycle of negative self-talk and shame-based narratives that stem from the common and limiting belief that brain differences are character flaws. In this unique guide, you’ll find a groundbreaking approach that blends traditional ADHD treatment with contemporary treatment methods, such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), to help you untangle yourself from the beliefs that have kept you from reaching your potential in life. Buy Now
About the Author: Psychotherapist Sari Solden, MS, has counseled adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for thirty years. She is author of the pioneering books, Women with Attention Deficit Disorder and Journeys Through ADDulthood, as well as a prominent keynote speaker at national and international conferences. She serves on the professional advisory board of the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), and is a past recipient of their award for outstanding service by a helping professional. Solden’s areas of specialization include women’s issues, inattentive ADHD, and the emotional consequences and healing process for adults who grew up with undiagnosed ADHD.
Women with Attention Deficit Disorder
by Sari Solden and MS
Part autobiographical, part educational, Sari takes us through the journey of what it’s like to be a grown woman with ADHD. And immediately I was relieved that I wasn’t the only one hurrying home for the weekends so that I could spend my entire weekend organizing my life just to survive. She doesn’t only get the ADHD part. She gets the woman part. For every man who asks why my podcast and accountability group are for women, I want to point to the chapters that explain how it really is different for women with ADHD. Not just physically (hello, hormones), but in terms of societal norms (hello, domestic life and mommyhood). My Review
Description: Newly revised and updated to reflect the latest clinical research, the book explores treatment and counseling options, and uses real-life case histories to examine the special challenges women with ADD and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) face, such as the shame of not fulfilling societal expectations. Included is a brand new chapter on friendship for women with ADHD. Three empowering steps restructuring one’s life, renegotiating relationships, and redefining self-image help women take control of their lives and enjoy success on their own terms. Buy Now
Survival Tips for Women with AD/HD
by Terry Matlen MSW
This collection of tips and tricks aims to relieve women of the anxiety and guilt of living with ADHD. In this collection of hidden gems, hundreds of real women living with ADHD share what works for them. This easy-to-flip-through-manual will help you once and for all get to the bottom of the laundry pile or that out-of-control junk mail. Not only is this an easy read, but many of us find comfort in knowing other women have the same struggles as we do. Reading their stories can bring great motivation to any woman dealing with ADHD, or anyone with someone in their life sharing that struggle. Buy Now
Amazon Description: Written to accommodate readers with AD/HD who often have difficulty reading a book from cover to cover, this guide is designed like a manual, allowing them to flip through to areas of interest without having to read the entire book to find what they need. Practical tips provide help in dealing with organizational tasks, including paperwork in the home and office, preparing meals, social situations, paying bills on time, household chores, shopping, and personal and family health.
ADHD According to Zoë
by Zoë Kessler and Patricia O. Quinn MD
This memoir by journalist and blogger Zoë Kessler gets real on what it’s like being diagnosed with ADHD as an adult. Using creativity and humor, Zoë tells her entertaining story, not holding back on what it’s really like to have your career and relationships challenged with ADHD.This personal account is a fun read, which is hard to find when the topic is ADHD. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine,” and you will find that in this book. If you or someone you know has ADHD, you will probably find at least one familiar experience throughout this book that you can identify with.
Amazon Description: In this unique and engaging memoir, Kessler shares her own stories of living with ADHD in a way that is relatable, but never predictable. Inside, she describes how her impulsive behavior has affected her love life; how being disorganized once stood in the way of landing a job; and how inattentiveness has caused certain challenges in her relationships. Kessler also offers key coping skills based on her experience; skills that you can use to focus your energy, become more organized, and boost your self-esteem while tapping into creativity and humor. Buy Now
by Jenara Nerenberg
Amazon Description: A paradigm-shifting study of neurodivergent women—those with ADHD, autism, synesthesia, high sensitivity, and sensory processing disorder—exploring why these traits are overlooked in women and how society benefits from allowing their unique strengths to flourish. Buy Now
About The Author: Jenara Nerenberg lectures widely on neuroscience, innovation, sensitivity, leadership, and diversity. Selected as a “brave new idea” presenter by the Aspen Institute for her work on re-framing mental differences, Jenara is also the founder and host of The Neurodiversity Project.
The Queen of Distraction
by Terry Matlen and Sari Solden
Something’s got to give, and therapist Terry Matlen is here to the rescue with practical skills to help women reclaim their lives. Topics covered include parenting, relationships, skin issues, hormones, meal planning, and more. This how-to on how to thrive is more than just a survival guide, it’s a new way of living. The authors take a realistic, everyday approach to dealing with the pressures and stresses of real-life in while dealing with ADHD. Tips and ideas throughout the book offer tiny changes women with ADHD can make that can reap huge benefits. You can have ADHD and live a “normal” life that does not revolve around your disease.
Amazon Description: The Queen of Distraction presents practical skills to help women with ADHD achieve focus and balance in all areas of life, whether it’s at home, at work, or in relationships. Psychotherapist Terry Matlen delves into the feminine side of ADHD―the elements of this condition that are particular to women, such as: relationships, skin sensitivities, meal-planning, parenting, and dealing with out-of-control hormones. In addition, the book offers helpful tips and strategies to get your symptoms under control, and outlines a number of effective treatment options for you to pursue. Buy Now
Cluttered Mess to Organized Success Workbook
by Cassandra Aarssen
An Amazon bestseller, this book offers you everything you need to organize your home, family and your time. Not only just a book, it’s jam packed with over 100 worksheets, forms, labels, schedules and everything else you need to organize your life. Written by a professional organizer and founder of the YouTube channel Clutterbug, Cassandra s also the author of the smash hit Real Life Organizing. Buy Now
Amazon Description: Do you dream of getting organized, but have no idea where to start? Cluttered Mess to Organized Success: Declutter and Organize your Home and Life with over 100 Checklists and Worksheets offers you everything you need to organize your home, family and your time.
Most of the women in my accountability group are huge bullet journal fans, and we’re always excited to get new supplies. I personally use this blank book, which is a good starter for bullet journaling because it already has the numbered pages. I don’t get super intricate with colored pens and stencils, but there are plenty of those out there as well. And stickers! For me, I just need a bold Pilot pen and I’m set. Buy Now
This Is For You
by Ellen M. Bard
Amazon Description: This creative toolkit takes you through 100 exercises to help you reframe your priorities, and find more time for you. With chapters exploring Body, Mind, Feelings, Relationships, Time, Work, Environment, Creativity and Change, every page contains a fun new interactive challenge and a new way of seeing your world. Buy Now
About The Author: Ellen is a work psychologist, writer and digital nomad. She is on a mission to bring practical, useful and fun development suggestions and personal improvement ideas to those who are long on interest and short on time.
Pediatrician and renowned ADHD Patricia Quinn answers all of your questions about ADHD in women and girls. An ideal selection for anyone wanting a comprehensive look at the symptoms, diagnosis process, ADHD management and everything in between. It is hard enough being a young girl, dealing with puberty and the changes of our bodies, let alone the social stresses that occur in middle school and high school. Throw ADHD on top of that, and you may feel a hint of despair. Don’t worry. This is a good book to start finding some of the answers to your questions. Buy Now
Amazon Description: 100 Questions & Answers About Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Women and Girls provides authoritative, practical answers to common questions about this disorder. Written by a renowned ADHD specialist, this book presents important information about common symptoms, the diagnosis process, management, and sources of support for women and girls with ADHD. An invaluable resource, this book provides the necessary tools for anyone coping with the emotional turmoil caused by ADHD.
ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life
by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadau
Amazon Description: Readers will enjoy all new content on organizing digital information, managing distractions, organizing finances, and coping with the “black hole” of the Internet. This exciting new resource offers three levels of strategies and support: self-help, non-professional assistance from family and friends, and professional support; allowing the reader to determine the appropriate level of support. Buy Now
About the Authors: Acclaimed professional organizer Judith Kolberg and Dr. Kathleen Nadeau, renowned ADHD clinical psychologist, are back with an updated edition of their classic text for adults with ADD. Their collaboration offers the best understanding and solutions for adults who want to get and stay organized.
Organizing Solutions for People With ADHD
Amazon Description: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are prevalent in society today, afflicting about 4.4% of the adult population—over 13 million Americans. Four out of every five adults do not even know they have ADD. Color photographs that capture the short attention span of the reader are featured throughout, as well as sidebars and testimonials from adults with ADD, providing numerous organizational tips, such as the importance of dividing time into minutes or moments, task completion, how to avoid procrastination, asking for help, and how not to be a pack rat. Buy Now
About The Author: Susan Pinsky’s Ask the Organizer column is published quarterly in the Ask the Experts section of ADDitude Magazine. Click here to find the latest column and an archive of past columns.
Understanding Girls with ADHD
by Kathleen Nadeau, Ellen Littman & Patricia Quinn
From the home and workplace to school and in relationships, this update from the 1999 classic is more comprehensive than ever. The complexity of women and girls is captured by team of two therapists and a pediatrician/ADHD specialist using clinical examples, research and case material and does not shy away from controversy. All of us have our own pre-conceived notion of the disease and are aware of stereotypes, but this book is straightforward and to the point and does not focus on either of those. As we all know, relationships can suffer greatly when ADHD is involved, and this book can help identify why we do some of the things we do, and how to understand and correct those behaviors. Buy Now
Amazon Description: Always sensitive, and without hesitation in providing an authoritative tone, this book will empower girls and their families in ways that are sorely needed. Its emphasis on gender-specific manifestations of ADHD and its inclusion of practical means of attacking the executive-function deficits that plague girls and women with ADHD will ensure its continued status as core guidebook.
The Classics (books recommended to me in various ADHD courses, workshops, etc. … )
Amazon Description: A leading expert in the assessment and treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder dispels myths and offers reassuring, practical information about treatments. Drawing on recent findings in neuroscience and a rich variety of case studies from his own clinical practive, Dr. Thomas E. Brown describes what ADD syndrome is, how it can be recognized at different ages, and how it can best be treated. Buy Now
About The Author: Dr. Brown is a clinical psychologist who received his Ph.D. from Yale University and maintains a private practice in Hamden, CT. specializing in assessment and treatment of high-IQ children, adolescents and adults with ADD and related problems. He is an Asst. Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine and is Associate Director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders.
Driven to Distraction
By Drs. Edward Hallowell and John Ratey
This one’s a classic and belongs on any ADHD reading list. Though not exclusively for women, I like it for the case studies. Right off the bat I related to Jim, but in the entire book there were so many relatable moments. My favorite part, aside from the stories, were the lists of practical actions at the end of each section. My Review
Description: Through vivid stories and case histories of patients—both adults and children—Hallowell and Ratey explore the varied forms ADHD takes, from hyperactivity to daydreaming. They dispel common myths, offer helpful coping tools, and give a thorough accounting of all treatment options as well as tips for dealing with a diagnosed child, partner, or family member. But most importantly, they focus on the positives that can come with this “disorder”—including high energy, intuitiveness, creativity, and enthusiasm. Buy Now
World renowned researcher Dr. Barbara Fredrickson gives you the lab-tested tools necessary to create a healthier, more vibrant, and flourishing life through a process she calls “the upward spiral.” With Positivity, you’ll learn to see new possibilities, bounce back from setbacks, connect with others, and become the best version of yourself. Buy Now
About The Author: Barbara L. Fredrickson, PH.D., is Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology and principal investigator of the Positive Emotion and Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a leading scholar within social psychology, affective science, and positive psychology.
Changing for Good
By James O. Prochaska, John Northcross and Carlo Diclemente
Not exclusively about ADHD, this book is for anybody who wants to change something huge in their life. Not only is it research-backed, I found it to be incredibly spot on about how “self changers” change. It happens in cycles. You have to have the right awareness for it and be in the right mindset before making the change, and there are setbacks. It’s rarely this linear line and it rarely goes like you’re loved ones (or prime time TV) would have you believe. My Review
Amazon Description: This groundbreaking book offers simple self-assessments, informative case histories, and concrete examples to help clarify each stage and process. Whether your goal is to start saving money, to stop drinking, or to end other self-defeating or addictive behaviors, this revolutionary program will help you implement positive personal change . . . for life. Buy Now
About Dr. Prochaska: James O. Prochaska is Director of Cancer Prevention Research Center and Professor of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Rhode Island. He is internationally recognized for his work as a developer of the stage model of behavior change. He is the principal investigator on over $80 million dollars in research grants for the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases.
New ADHD Medication Rules: Brain Science & Common Sense
Dr. Charles Parker
Amazon Description: New ADHD Medication Rules — Brain Science & Common Sense shows that patients often suffer from missed brain and body diagnoses that create a variety of reactions to ADHD medications. The too frequent result of these challenges: diagnostic confusion, imbalanced treatment and over or under medication. In the only book of its kind, Dr. Charles Parker clearly explains how these uncertainties happen, and how insightful communication with professionals can dramatically improve treatment using available methods assembled from hard data, clinical experience and laboratory research. Buy Now
About The Author: From ADHD meds to addiction recovery, to specific neurotransmitter measurements and SPECT functional brain imaging, Parker encourages a fresh perspective based on real data. Parker’s life mission is simple: translate contemporary brain and body science for practical office applications. New, easily measurable brain evidence-points weave a complex, interactive mind-body web that maps out improved ADHD treatment protocols. It sounds complicated but creates common-sense, workable solutions.
Refuse To Choose
Amazon Description: Barbara Sher has become famous for her extraordinary ability to help people define and achieve their goals. What Sher has discovered is that some individuals simply cannot, and should not, decide on a single path; they are genetically wired to pursue many areas. Sher calls them “Scanners”—people whose unique type of mind does not zero in on a single interest but rather scans the horizon, eager to explore everything they see. Buy Now
About The Author: NY Times Best Seller author Barbara Sher believes we each have a genius inside us, our Original Vision, and we’ve had it since birth. Our culture tends to discourage that vision, but it remains within us, waiting to be fulfilled. She has devoted the last 40 years of her life to saving that Genius, not from its imperfections or a bad self image, but from Isolation and Inner Resistance.
We all know it is difficult to live with ADHD, let alone raising children with ADHD, or both. Fortunately, every day we get closer to conquering this illness. People with ADHD can excel at whatever they choose by utilizing the knowledge found in the books listed above. Whether you need a book for yourself as a parent or a book targeted to your elementary aged child, tween, or teen, you will find what you are looking for in just a few clicks. Tips and ideas for dealing with the symptoms of ADHD and related experiences await that can change your life forever.