Are you struggling with ADHD and feeling like a fraud in your personal or professional life? You're not alone. Imposter syndrome, the nagging belief that you’re not as competent as others think you are, is particularly common among those with ADHD. The combination can feel overwhelming, but understanding the connection between ADHD and imposter syndrome can help you manage both more effectively.

adhd and imposter syndrome

The Connection Between ADHD and Imposter Syndrome

Living with ADHD means dealing with challenges in attention, memory, and organization. This can lead to constantly comparing yourself to your peers, which often triggers feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. When you achieve something, imposter syndrome makes you believe it’s due to luck or external factors, not your own abilities. This creates a vicious cycle: the more you achieve, the more you feel like a fraud.

Why ADHD Amplifies Imposter Syndrome

  1. Constant Comparison: Comparing your productivity and success to neurotypical individuals can lead to feelings of inadequacy.
  2. Perfectionism: Overcompensating for ADHD-related challenges can lead to unrealistic standards, fueling imposter syndrome.
  3. Negative Self-Talk: Frequent forgetfulness, procrastination, and distractibility can lead to a negative internal dialogue and a sense of failure.
  4. Inconsistent Performance: Fluctuating performance levels make it hard to feel consistently competent, reinforcing imposter feelings.

Real Stories: You Are Not Alone

Many successful individuals with ADHD have experienced imposter syndrome. Maya Angelou, an acclaimed author and poet, once said, “I have written eleven books, but each time I think, Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.” This fear of being "found out" is a hallmark of imposter syndrome, and it's important to remember that even those who appear confident and successful can feel this way.


Triggers for Imposter Syndrome in ADHD Women

  1. High Achievements and Success: Achieving high levels of success can create pressure to maintain it, leading to self-doubt.
  2. Being in a Minority Group: Individuals in minority groups may feel out of place and doubt their abilities.
  3. New Challenges and Roles: Starting new jobs or roles can trigger feelings of inadequacy.
  4. Family and Cultural Expectations: Beliefs about success and competency from family or culture can contribute to impostor syndrome.
  5. Masking and Discrimination: The need to mask neurodiverse traits due to societal expectations can lead to internalized shame and feelings of being an impostor.

Strategies to Manage ADHD and Imposter Syndrome

1. Acknowledge Your Achievements

Take time to reflect on your accomplishments and recognize your hard work. Keep a journal where you note down your successes, no matter how small. This can help you build a more realistic self-assessment and counteract negative self-talk.

2. Seek Support

Join support groups or find a therapist who understands ADHD and imposter syndrome. Sharing your experiences with others who understand can provide validation and reduce feelings of isolation.

3. Set Realistic Goals

Break down tasks into manageable steps and set realistic, achievable goals. Celebrate your progress along the way instead of focusing solely on the end result.

4. Practice Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself. Understand that it's okay to make mistakes and that they don't define your worth. Treat yourself with the same compassion you would offer a friend.

5. Challenge Negative Thoughts

When you catch yourself thinking negatively, challenge those thoughts. Ask yourself if they are based on facts or if you are being overly critical. Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations about your abilities and efforts.

6. Mindfulness and Stress Management

Practice mindfulness techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to manage stress and improve focus. These practices can help you stay grounded and reduce anxiety related to imposter syndrome.

7. Educate Yourself and Others

Learn more about ADHD and imposter syndrome. Understanding these experiences can empower you to manage them better.

8. Try and surround yourself with people who support you and if possible are like you.


Feeling like an imposter is a common experience, especially for individuals with ADHD. However, you are not alone, and there are strategies you can use to manage these feelings. By acknowledging your achievements, seeking support, setting realistic goals, practicing self-compassion, challenging negative thoughts, and managing stress, you can break the cycle of imposter syndrome and build a more confident, authentic self.

Remember, you are not a fraud. Your experiences, struggles, and successes are all valid. Embrace your unique journey and recognize that your ADHD is a natural variation that contributes to who you are. You are enough.


Interested in Learning more? Watch this great video on Adhd and Imposter Syndrome



By admin