How to Support an ADHD Woman Struggling with Depression: 5 Helpful Tips


depression support

Why are Adhd women more Vulnerable to Depression?

Research shows that women, in general, experience higher rates of depression compared to men.

Unrealistic Expectations: Society often expects women to excel in every role they take on. In my practice, I call this the gold standard for women. No one can meet these expectations, but Adhd women take these failures particularly hard.


Stigma and Misunderstanding: ADHD is often misunderstood, and women with ADHD may face stereotypes or prejudices. They might be labeled as “lazy” or “irresponsible” all of their lives this treatment steadily chips away at them.


Masking: To fit in with societal norms, women with ADHD might feel compelled to hide their symptoms and pretend everything is fine. This “masking” can lead to an internal struggle, where the individual is constantly trying to keep up appearances while feeling overwhelmed and unsupported.


Chronic Stress: Continuously trying to meet societal expectations can lead to chronic stress. ADHD-related challenges often exacerbate this stress, resulting in physical and mental health issues, including depression.


Lack of Accommodation: Society might not provide the necessary accommodations for women with ADHD. This can include work environments, educational settings, or even relationships where ADHD’s unique challenges are not recognized or supported.


Hormones. For women with ADHD, these rates are even higher.  Adhd women have higher rates of PMDD, PMS, Post partum depression, and perimenopause-related mood disorders. We know that estrogen regulates dopamine which is related to attention and concentration.


support adhd depressed women

As a supportive partner or family member, you can play a vital role in helping your ADHD woman loved one combat depression.

Here are five practical suggestions to provide understanding, encouragement, and support for women you love with adhd who have depression

  1. Embrace and Accept Her ADHD Challenges: Create a family environment that embraces and accepts your loved one’s ADHD challenges.

     2. Learn about neurodivergent strengths ( creativity, divergent thinking, hyperfocus)  and avoid any shaming for brain-based differences ( time blindness, struggles with prioritizing or motivation.

      3. Listen without judgment.

Support your loved one by practicing listening with empathy. Refrain from offering advice.

  • Reflect what you hear
  • Acknowledge emotions
  • Ask questions

Be there for her with reassurance, understanding, and encouragement. Let her know that you value and appreciate her just how she is.

     4. Provide some extra hands-on support. Women with adhd live years trying to keep up with and fit into a world that isn’t friendly or supportive of them. This often results in depression, anxiety, weakened immune systems, digestive issues,  and other physical ailments. Be mindful of the impact of chronic stress on her physical and mental health.  Adhd women can always use some extra help and support and often have trouble asking for help.

      5. Support unmasking. This might mean getting used to a different version of your loved one. Create a safe space for her to express herself authentically without judgment or criticism. Unlayering years of masking is part of healing her body and mind and will alleviate symptoms of depression.  Belonging is essential for healing.

Remember, your support and understanding are invaluable in helping your ADHD woman loved one navigate through depression and other challenges. Recovery from depression often takes time. Be patient and continue to offer support as they work through their feelings. You can be an essential part of her journey toward well-being and self-discovery by fostering a nurturing and accepting environment.


Another good page on supporting loved ones with depression

Learn about neurodivergence


Other links on depression

perimenopause and depression

postpartum depression and adhd

Situational depression

adhd and depression


Medical information obtained from this website is not intended as a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you have a problem, you should consult a healthcare provider.

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