• Alana Stern

My Top 5 Book Picks for Women with ADHD-like Struggles (with 5 more for further inspiration)

Updated: Jul 20


If, like me, you are a reader, and your kindle free-sample library looks as full as your recycling bin that you keep forgetting to take out; or like your clothes closet, scattered with maybe items, just in case items, fat clothes, thin clothes, painting clothes..., you'd probably be really happy if someone would review a few of the books written specifically for woman with (suspected) ADHD.

BTW, ADHD here includes the inattentive type, previously termed ADD, where the hyperactivity is actually in your head. Another fun fact - hyperactivity in girls sometimes shows up as "hyper-talkativity". But really, the name "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" is a misnomer - its not a deficit of attention so much as an inability to REGULATE attention and; as stressed by ADHD research guru Dr. Russel Barkley, this name for the disorder totally discounts the very important aspect of emotional management, as well as other executive function difficulties.

So without further ado, here they are, my top 5 picks of essential reading for women with self-management struggles; with 5 more bonus recommendations if you are a reading fanatic like me who consumes non-fiction like chocolate after a stressful day.

  1. ADD FRIENDLY WAYS TO ORGANIZE YOUR LIFE, by Judith Kohlberg and Kathleen G. Nadeau, PH.D


So this wasn't even on my list until I eagerly consumed it in two days recently. Co-written by a personal organizer and a clinical psychologist, this book systematically breaks down typical difficulties with organization and their affects on our lives. Although not specifically written for women, I found that their topics were all extremely relevant to women; whose organizational roles often extend to physical home organizer, constant financial decision-maker, family coordinator, meal-planner and career woman to name but a few. The book is basically divided into how to organize:

  • things

  • time

  • *information and

  • finances,

with the latest edition concluding with an important chapter on getting organized in a digital world. Although this information is a little dated already, it just goes to show how quickly our digital world changes and how important it is to try get a handle on it.

In short, it not only clearly ORGANIZES typical challenges, but then offers practical suggestions using a a 3-tiered model of:

a. how you can support yourself

b. how you friends and family can support you

c. how a professional (ADHD coach, personal organizer, therapist) can support you.

If you are looking for a book that will spur you to take action, this is it.

2. WOMEN WITH ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER, by Sari Solden


This was such an eye-opener for me in terms of the way that ADHD can manifest itself differently in girls and women as opposed to the typical symptoms of hyperactivity and lack of attention that we associate with the disorder. For any woman who has ever suspected herself of having ADHD, for any woman who has suffered from unexplained depression and anxiety, shame at not being organized enough or is chronically overwhelmed; Sari shares her personal struggles with ADHD and offers practical suggestions for:

  • restructuring your life

  • renegotiating your relationships and

  • redefining your self-image.

This book was full of "AHA", "OMG that's me" and "so THAT's why" moments for me, leading to huge leaps in my understanding of myself.

3.THE QUEEN OF DISTRACTION - HOW WOMEN WITH ADHD CAN CONQUER CHAOS, FIND FOCUS, AND GET MORE DONE, by Terry Matlen

Psychotherapist Terry dives head-first into the feminine side of ADHD challenges, with chapter headings such as:


  • My Life is Buried under one of These Piles

  • Clothing Loathing

  • When Mommy has ADHD and

  • Hormonal Humps, Bumps and Flashes.

A great survival guide that deals with the little everyday things at accumulate to get us down.

4. YOU MEAN I'M NOT LAZY, STUPID OR CRAZY? THE CLASSIC SELF-HELP BOOK FOR ADULTS WITH ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER, by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo


The title of this one says it all, as far as I'm concerned. Also written by women with ADHD themselves, this practical and compassionate approach to adulting with ADHD is informal and comprehensive enough to include topics such as:

  • Mealtime Mania

  • Dating, family and sexuality

  • Work relationships

  • Medication and

  • Balance.

The pragmatic and problem-solving approach makes this one #4 on my list.

5. UNDERSTANDING WOMEN WITH ADHD, by Kathleen G. Naudeau

With a little more depth than some of the above-mentioned books, this book starts with diagnosis and moves progressively and logically to cover self-assessment, medical and non-medical treatments, associated disorders, environmental supports and the gamut of ADHD influences on the different life-stages for women. This book is written by the same author who co-wrote my number one recommendation, and it has a little more meat and background (studies, neuroscience, medical information) on the intricacies of the ADHD condition.

And now, as promised, my bonus 5-10 list for women with ADHD/self-management challenges (in no order of preference):

6. ORGANIZING SOLUTIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH ADHD, by Susan C. Pinsky

7. THE DISORGANIZED MIND, by Nancy A. Ratey

8. DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION, Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder, by Edward M. Hallowell M.D. and John J. Ratey M.D.

9. 100 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT ADHD IN WOMEN AND GIRLS, by Dr. Patricia Quinn

10. HELP FOR WOMEN WITH ADHD: MY SIMPLE STRATEGIES FOR CONQUERING CHAOS, by Joan Wilder.


Happy reading ladies!


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