Predominately Inattentive ADHD: An Overlooked Diagnosis

Predominately Inattentive ADHD: An Overlooked Diagnosis

Did you know predominantly inattentive ADHD is commonly overlooked? Children with hyperactive and impulsive behavior tend to draw more attention, prompting parents to seek assessments. However, children with the inattentive ADHD type are characterized as shy, quiet, and forgetful. Picture a teacher telling a parent, “Hi mom, Sally is very quiet in class; I think something may be wrong.” Mom would come out of that conversation very confused. Many of the inattentive ADHD symptoms in younger children are overlooked as good behavior or dismissed as common struggles with organization and focus. Moreover, inattentive ADHD in women or girls is frequently misdiagnosed as anxiety or depression. Symptoms such as daydreaming and feeling overwhelmed by disorganization may be attributed to these conditions rather than recognized as potential indicators of ADHD. This lack of awareness results in predominantly inattentive ADHD diagnoses occurring much later in life, typically during the teenage years or adulthood.

Mel’s Story: Inattentive ADHD Type as an Adult

Mel wasn’t diagnosed with predominantly inattentive ADHD until she was in her late 20’s. If anyone were to look at Mel’s resume, they would be surprised. She studied chemical engineering at UCLA, worked at numerous competitive biotech firms, and owned a home. Sure, she was forgetful, missed appointments, constantly late to everything, but she made all of the important dates. It wasn’t until she experienced her first panic attack did she seek help. Mel matched with 8 out of 9 DSM symptoms for inattentive ADHD type. For Mel, her inability to focus and stay on task caught up to her. She just didn’t have enough time to do things the way that worked for her, and it was burning her out. Sadly, Mel found herself constantly asking the all too common question with inattentive ADHD in women “Why am I no longer good enough?” 

Why Understanding Her ADHD Symptoms Changed Everything

After the initial shock of her diagnosis, Mel felt a sense of relief with having predominantly inattentive ADHD. She told me that before she just kept blaming it on her inadequacy, something she had no idea how to improve on. A week before speaking with me, she had no idea what executive functions were. After a lot of research, she found herself seeking a consultation with me to help alleviate her inattentive ADHD symptoms. In addition to medication, she recognized that she had always been trying to work on her executive functions and more support would only strengthen that endeavor. For Mel, learning about inattentive ADHD in women gave her direction. She was no longer trying to climb a foggy mountain in pitch darkness. At least now, she has a flashlight. 

Mel’s Battle with Inattentive ADHD Type

Our initial work on Mel’s inattentive ADHD symptoms primarily focused on metacognition. During our initial consultation, Mel described her tendency to overplan and run late on her assignments. Metacognition is the act of really thinking through our thought process and journaling it out. Whenever she doesn’t meet her expectations, she goes back to the drawing board. However, repeated failure causes her mental burnout. Our work for her predominantly inattentive ADHD focused around meeting expectations. This meant we set what we determined to be realistic, tracked the progress, and had reflections about the outcome. What helped her the most was constant refocusing on improvements rather than past failures. After around 4 months, Mel was able to find common inattentive ADHD in women strategies that worked for her. One strategy that worked really well for Mel was consistent self regulation for her anxiety.

A very common occurrence in inattentive ADHD in women is negative self-talk. Once there was a hint that Mel was not going to meet her own expectations, the demons came out. Why do I always forget? Why am I always waiting until the last minute? What is wrong with me? I want to quit. I can’t do this anymore. Mel’s spiraling panic attacks were a manifestation of her inattentive ADHD symptoms. Luckily for Mel, she has a really great support system. Every single time Mel spiraled, she was instructed to call her boyfriend. I taught him how to do deep breathing with her. Focus on a distraction and breathe. After Mel noticed the self regulation working, she was able to do more of it herself. Soon Mel began to stop having panic attacks and was able to better meet her expectations.

However, what makes this all possible is the process of metacognition where Mel is asked to reflect. She, like most individuals with predominantly inattentive ADHD, is very inquisitive. If anyone tells her she is doing well, she won’t believe it without cold hard proof. Really asking her to track her progress, note the changes, and reflect on what is working allows her to create realistic plans. It is not to say that she was cured of inattentive ADHD type, but she now has the tools to live her life with it. I won’t say that Mel ever strove for work-life balance. Even after a year of working with her, I can say that she works harder than anyone I know. However, I can say that she isn’t letting her inattentive ADHD symptoms control her life.

Why Having A Coach for Coping ADHD Works?

Coaching played a pivotal role in Mel’s journey with predominantly inattentive ADHD. Personalized guidance, tailored strategies, and unwavering support empowered her to navigate the complexities of inattentive ADHD in women with confidence. Through structured sessions focused on metacognition, goal setting, and accountability, Mel gained invaluable insights into her thought processes and behavior patterns. Encouragement and practical tools helped her manage anxiety and self-doubt effectively. Our collaborative relationship empowered Mel to take control of her life despite the challenges of her inattentive ADHD symptoms. Mel’s experience highlights the transformative impact of coaching in empowering individuals to overcome obstacles and live fulfilling lives.

Your ADHD Journey Doesn’t Have to Be a Struggle:. Learn more and book your exclusive one-on-one session now!

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