Women With Attention Deficit Disorder
Embracing Disorganization at Home and in the Workplace
by Sari Solden
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Published by Underwood Books
Publication date: October 1, 1995
Dimensions (in inches): 8.46 x 5.53 x 0.85
ISBN: 1887424059

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Table of Contents

From the Author



Reader Comments

Interview with Sari Solden

Reviews and Commentary for Women With Attention Deficit Disorder : Embracing Disorganization at Home and in the Workplace

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John J. Ratey, MD, co-author Driven to Distraction :

By examining the interplay between genetics and environment, Sari Solden has broken new ground in Women With Attention Deficit Disorder.


Book Description :

Women with Attention Deficit Disorder addresses the millions of withdrawn little girls and chronically overwhelmed women with ADD who go undiagnosed because they don't fit the stereotypical notion of people with ADD. They are not fast-talking, hyperactive, non-attentive, and they are not male. Though the book focuses on ADD, much of what is said also applies to women with ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Introduction by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo, authors of You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Crazy or Stupid? Foreword by John J. Ratey, MD, co-author of Driven to Distraction.



Solden, a therapist with ADD, combines the real-life histories and treatment experiences of women with ADD with the latest clinical research and literature to create a new screening checklist specifically for women. She highlights the special challenges women with ADD face, describes what to look for in treatment and counseling, and outlines three steps for living with ADD. Photos. Line drawings, charts.


From the Publisher :

This pioneering book explains that ADD is an equal-opportunity disorder that affects just as many women as men.

From the Author :

Many women experience great shame when they are unable to conform to our society's degrading "job description for women." With exercises, self-talk and stories I help women dismantle their self-images as "slobs" or "space cadets" and enjoy a new cycle of success on their own.

About the Author :

Sari Solden MS, MFCC, is a psychotherapist in private practice who specializes in individual, couple, and group work with ADD adults and their partners. She serves as a consultant and trains mental health profession in the diagnosis and treatment of ADD.


Reader Comments

  A reader from Lancaster, CA USA , November 14, 1998
Easy to read and understand, excellent information.

Most books on ADD/ADHD fail to focus on its effects on females. This book offers excellent insight and information that is specific about how this disorder looks in women, and can be extrapolated to young girls. The specifics offer a new ray of hope for women afflicted with this unrecognized, but high damaging disorder that so often goes undiagnosed until it is too late. All teachers, medical practitioners treating the disorder, parents and counselors should read this book. It is very informative, and offers a whole new perspective for women.

A reader from Silicon Valley, CA , September 26, 1998
Phonemonal Resource for Women with ADD - Enlightening!

After years of being unsuccessfully treated for depression, I was diagnosed with ADD by a very astute psychiatrist. This book described all of the symptoms and frustrations I had felt for years. Instead of watching the world pass by, I was relieved to find that other women felt just as I did. This fantastic book offered positive methods of organizing to minimize the confusion of ADD. It also explained the benefits of medication which for me was a lifesaver! Today I realize ADD is actually a gift of creativity and there are many ways to manage the challenge and lead a rewarding, profitable life!

A reader from New York , August 19, 1998
Eye-opening info for newly Dx'ed hypoactive ADDers

This book will be extremely relevant to adult women - and "hypoactive" men - who suspect they have ADD, or are newly diagnosed. The focus is on severe difficulties with organization. It would be extremely useful to give to friends and loved ones of ADDers, to help them understand the illness.

A reader from Massachusetts, USA , July 10, 1998
This book is about me...

I can not believe how much this book describes my life. It's about time ADD with out hyperactivity is addressed. I believe every women should read this book. I have read many books about ADD but this one has to be the best!


Jennifer 4/12/98

I'm reading Women With Attention Deficit Disorder by Sari Solden. It addresses ADD and the specific ways it has an impact on girls and women, with a chapter on disorganization. It addresses the "unwritten job description" that society places on women to be the ones to keep track of birthdays and social obligations, coordinate the family's household and clothing shopping, plan all holidays, keep track of kids' schedules and belongings, etc.

There's also an unwritten "code" in many offices that women will do stuff like make small talk, serve on fundraising committees, remember to send birthday and get-well cards to coworkers, contribute food to special events, arrange going-away lunches and showers, etc. It can be very hard for an ADD person to be distracted from their work in these ways, and usually men aren't expected to do all of these things in addition to their jobs (or so says the book).

Some of you with ADD concerns might want to look up this book. I found a copy at the public library.


mkg@voyager.net from Traverse City, Michigan , 04/13/98, rating=10:
A lifesaver, the answers and a way out!

Sari Solden does an excellent job of summing up the total effect of life-long ADD, that being the shame and negativity that become internalized as a result of living with this "invisible" disorder. Not only does it put the disorder into context that made it able for me to begin to find my way out of the chaos, it is helping me advocate for myself in order to believe I have the right to the help, understanding and cooperation I need from my husband to achieve my goals. A huge thank you, and a must read for anyone struggling with this baffling disorder.


hypercog@connix.com from US , 02/03/98, rating=4:
Some rare information on Women with ADD, but biased.

This book is good for women who think they may have ADD, but only those without hyperactivity. It points out the stresses unique to women with ADD, overlooked in other ADD books. However, the author has a rather negative and depressive view of ADD, unlike many women I know who thrive with the condition. Balance this book out with something more positive by Thom Hartmann.

A Reader from Florida, U.S.A. , 10/29/97, rating=10:
This is the light at the end of the tunnel!

When I found this book I was in a panic state not knowing how I could cope with being an A.D.D. parent of 2 A.D.D. children. This book has information that will affirm the strengths that are found within an A.D.D. adult and provides new insight in handling the day to day stresses involved in parenting. As a self proclaimed "Poster Child" for Adults with A.D.D. I must recommend this book to every woman coping with this "adventure"!

afterlos@ix.netcom.com , 07/24/97, rating=10:
"Women with ADD" : separating "women" and "disorder".

As a clinical social worker who also happens to be a woman with ADD, this book was not only a practical help to me, but a personal support as well. Of particular poignancy and importance is Ms. Solden's advice that we "embrace our disorganization" rather than feel repelled and ashamed of it. She talks glowingly of attending a conference where the attendees were primarily adult ADD folks, and the comraderie and closeness she felt with all these people who were trying to find lost keys, fumbling for pencils, or interrupting one another, but doing so in an atmostphere of acceptance.

The most significant focus within Ms.Solden's book is that the hiding (of ADD symptoms and habits) needn't continue. You can come out of your ADD closet and find a place for yourself amongst the "normal" folks in the world. Accurate diagnosis is essential, and then appropriate treatment, whether it be via medication, supportive psychotherapy or "coaching", whereby a family member, friend or therapist helps you stay on track. Looking at ADD with compassion and humor is something many women who are "in hiding" with the disorder may find difficult to do. But, when the hiding is over, so is the shame.

This book offers hope to those who may not have believed it to be possible, yet it also avoids being saccharine or preachy. A very balanced view of a disorder that, for many of us, causes us to feel un-balanced.

Balance Check 4/3/98; rating = 10
This book has rightly been called a "must read" for women with ADD (ADHD)!

Like the Teenager's Guide to A.D.D., this book is very good reading for people not in its intended audience - i.e. MEN. While the problems of hormones women go through are unique to their gender, the problems of disorganization at home and work are not!


Excerpted from Women With Attention Deficit Disorder by Sari Solden. Copyright(c) 1995. Reprinted by permission, all rights reserved :
Why ADD Goes Undiagnosed Longer in Little Girls

Even though ADHD girls are more active and therefore more noticeable than ADD w/o girls, they too are identified and treated later than hyperactive boys, because they don't act out as much and cause as many problems. Another cultural stereotype that impacts ADHD girls occurs when they don't meet the "nice little girl" expectation. They are written off as "tomboys" instead of as having a learning problem. Or, because they are often very social, talkative, and emotionally reactive, they become labelled as "boy crazy," "non academic oriented," or "party girls." Dr. Kathleen Nadeau says that the hyperactivity of girls with ADHD is often manifested differently than in boys. Girls are often "hyper talkative, hyper social and hyper emotionally reactive." She also says that the impulsive behavior of girls with ADHD is not tolerated in the same way as boys are. They are negatively viewed as "unladylike."

Rather than having an attentional disorder, many times their behaviors are attributed to emotional or family problems. For instance, in Lucy's case, if she is still undiagnosed by the time of her parent's divorce, it will be especially difficult for her to get an accurate diagnosis. In addition to her ADD, she will be reacting to this upheaval in her life.

Because ADD without H girls aren't behavior problems, they often aren't identified at a young age, unless they also happen to have obvious learning disabilities. Another reason they don't get diagnosed, according to Dr. Daniel Amen, is that the cultural stereotypes that we have of little girls contribute to an under identification. As in Jodi's case, the school system tolerates underachievement in girls that it wouldn't in boys. Also, I feel that ADD without girls usually fall into the "nice little girl" stereotype. Because they are quiet and nice, and often trying to please, they are actually meeting cultural expectations, and people either don't notice or are not as concerned with their subtle information processing problems.

Another way ADD is often detected is during an evaluation for learning disabilities. Because girls with ADD have fewer learning problems in the early grades in math and reading than boys do, according to Drs. Hallowell and Ratey, in Answers to Distraction, these girls are less apt to be diagnosed through this avenue.

The reason early identification of girls is so important is that years of being mis labelled, mis understood or just plain missed, leads to serious long term consequences to their self esteem, relationships, achievement and emotions.


Table of Contents

A Note to the Reader
By John Ratey
By Kate Kelly, Peggy Ramundo
Author's Preface
A Pocket Guide to ADD
Essay: The Buried Treasure
Ch. 1. Coming out of the (Messy) Closet: Introduction to My Personal and Professional Story
Ch. 2. Girls and ADD: An Equal Opportunity Disorder
Ch. 3. "Dance with the Lady with the Hole in Her Stocking": A Portrait of the Inner World of Women with ADD Before Diagnosis
Ch. 4. "Who am I? What's the Matter with Me?"
Ch. 5. Disorganization: The Disorder of Dis-order
Ch. 6. The Job from Hell: A Woman's Job Description
Ch. 7. The Emotional Legacy
Ch. 8. Secondary Effects: Underachievement and a Depressed Mood
Ch. 9. Secondary Effects: Relationships
Ch. 10. Diagnostic Dilemmas For Women
Ch. 11. Self-Assessment for Women and Paths to Diagnosis
Ch. 12. An Overview of Treatment: Getting Started The Grief Cycle, Medication, Women's Issues
Ch. 13. Treatment Continued: The Rest of the MESST: Education, Support, Strategies and Therapy
Essay: Diamonds in the Rough
Ch. 14. Embracing Disorganization
Ch. 15. The 3 R's at Work: Restructuring, Renegotiating, Redefining
Ch. 16. Restructuring: at Home and in Your Personal Life
Ch. 17. Renegotiating Your Relationships
Ch. 18. Redefining your Self-Image
About the Author


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