Last updated:

December 26, 2023


 min read

ADHD Treatment for Women without Medication

Discover effective non-medication ADHD treatments tailored for women, exploring holistic approaches and strategies. Learn practical methods to manage ADHD symptoms naturally in this comprehensive guide.



Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects individuals of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. Traditionally, ADHD has been more commonly diagnosed in children, particularly boys. However, research has shown that it often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed in women and girls, who may exhibit different symptoms and coping mechanisms. 

Some of the most common symptoms of ADHD as seen in women are in the realm of executive dysfunction. This includes the following manifestations. 

  • Inattentiveness: Women with ADHD might find it hard to stay focused on their tasks, organise their thoughts, and be attentive to details. This can lead to forgetfulness, losing items, and finding multitasking extremely overwhelming. 

  • Impulsivity: Impulsive behaviour in women can be seen as interrupting people, engaging in risky behaviours, or making hasty decisions. While they might not be as obvious as in men, they can still be extremely challenging to cope with. 

  • Emotional dysregulation: Women with ADHD might experience intense emotions and mood swings. This can lead to difficulty managing stress and their reactions to situations. They might also be more prone to developing symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

  • Disorganisation: Keeping a tidy space, time management, planning, and completing tasks can pose quite the challenge for women with ADHD.


  • Low self-esteem: Managing the symptoms of ADHD as well as the lack of awareness towards its manifestation in women can take a toll on self-esteem. This can lead to feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. 

While there has been a significant gap in diagnosis of ADHD in women, promising research helps understand the manifestations of the disorder better. Some of the common reasons as to why the disorder went undiagnosed in women include:

  • Types of symptoms: Hyperactive and impulsive, which are more common in boys and ment, are easier to detect.

  • Bias: Often healthcare professionals and caregivers may not look for symptoms of ADHD in women. This can lead to their diagnoses being overlooked. 

  • Scarce research: ADHD in women and girls have not received as much research attention as it has in boys and men. This suggests that our understanding of ADHD in girls can be far behind and outdated. 

  • Criterias: Some professionals suggest current diagnostic criteria for ADHD is less accurate in diagnosis for women.

  • Stereotypes about sex and behaviour: Impulsive and hyperactive ADHD behaviour are considered more socially acceptable in boys, hence women might learn to hide this aspect of their disorder. 

While medication can be effective in managing ADHD symptoms, some women may prefer non-pharmaceutical approaches. This article explores various holistic strategies and lifestyle changes that can help treat ADHD in women without relying on medication.

Managing ADHD without medication


Talk therapy with a mental health professional can greatly help navigate the world of dealing with ADHD. Approaches such as cognitive-behavioural therapy can help provide strategies to cope with disorganisation, time management, impulsivity, and lack of attention. Therapy can also help identify negative thoughts and learn healthy mechanisms to cope with these. Tools and interventions can be tailored by the therapist to the client’s concerns. Concerns related to emotional dysregulation and self-esteem can also be worked on in a therapeutic space. 

Mindfulness and meditation

Mindfulness practices such as yoga, tai chi, journalling and deep breathing can help with improving focus, managing stress, and dealing with impulsivity. These techniques help to build present moment awareness and build self-awareness. This can aid attunement to thoughts and emotions, and lead to better emotional regulation. The benefits of mindfulness for ADHD has also been backed by research. 

Exercise and physical activity

Regular physical activity has found to be very effective for managing symptoms of ADHD. Exercise releases endorphins, improving mood and concentration. For women with ADHD, finding a fun and enjoyable physical activity such as dancing, hiking, working out can provide a structured outlet for excess energy. This can also improve overall well-being and executive concern. 

Nutritional changes

Diet can also play a huge role in managing symptoms of ADHD. While every woman is unique, some specific changes to diet have been found to be effective. These include:

  • Reducing sugar and processed food: High amounts of sugar intake can lead to spikes and crashes in energy, which exacerbate symptoms of ADHD. 
  • Cutting out food colouring and preservatives such as sodium benzoate. 
  • Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean proteins. This provides essential nutrients to support brain function.
  • Increasing omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, walnuts, flaxseed, and even supplements can improve attention and cognitive function.

Taking supplements

Supplements and vitamins provide all-round health benefits. Some supplements may be able to significantly reduce symptoms of ADHD. While research is emerging, they have mostly been targeted towards children with ADHD. 

  • Vitamin B6 plays a vital role in serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the brain. These vitamins can be integral to treat the symptoms of ADHD. 
  • Vitamin D helps in brain development and function, and reduces symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity
  • Zinc is important in the regulation of dopamine, which is frequently implicated in attention issues. Zinc can help with attention, memory, and impulse control. 
  • Magnesium: A deficiency in magnesium can cause irritability and hyperactivity. Research shows a promising response when individuals with ADHD take magnesium supplements, leading to a decrease in hyperactive behaviour. 
  • Iron is also important in dopamine production. While dopamine is known to be low in individuals with ADHD, taking iron and zinc supplements can help naturally improve these levels. 

Sleep routines

Quality sleep is essential in the management of ADHD symptoms. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule and a sleeping environment can improve sleep hygiene. Avoiding screen time and stimulants such as caffeine before bedtime can also improve the quality of sleep. 

Time management techniques

Since effective time management is a significant challenge for many women with ADHD, coaching and counselling can help to regulate these. Learning techniques such as creating schedules, setting reminders, and breaking tasks into smaller, manageable steps can make a huge difference in daily functioning.

Social Support

Women with ADHD can also be helped with a support system of family, friends, and support groups. Sharing experiences and strategies with like-minded individuals can provide emotional support and facilitate advice. 

Environmental changes

Creating a clutter-free area can help women with ADHD in their responsibilities. Simple changes such as colour-coding labels or post-its, organisational bins, calendars, and reminders can help track deadlines and tasks.


Electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback (now called neurofeedback) helps measure brain waves. Newer research suggested that neurofeedback can help as an alternative method in the treatment of ADHD. Here, a client wears an electrode-lined cap and is asked to perform a cognitive task. Brain waves associated with focus and distraction are marked, and successive sessions teach individuals how to notice these brain waves and correct their focus. Thus, this involves self-regulation of one’s brain waves through learned techniques. 

The treatment of ADHD in women thus involves a holistic approach beyond medication. These interventions address the unique challenges and manifestations of the condition. By combining therapy with the other techniques mentioned above, women with ADHD can have a comprehensive toolkit to manage their symptoms. 

It is essential to remember the effectiveness of these non-medication based approaches vary from person to person. Thus it is essential for women with ADHD to explore different strategies, consult healthcare professionals, and tailor their treatment plan to their needs and preferences. This comprehensive treatment plan can be done with the guidance of the team of mental health professionals here at Rocket Health. 


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