Stressed Out Mothers With ADHD Are Just Experiencing ‘Modern Life’
Keeping your mind on dishes that need to be washed, kids that need to be picked up, schedules that need to be adhered to, and what to make for dinner is a constant game of whack-a-mole for many mothers. A piece on The Washington Post suggests that these mothers may even have ADHD as a growing number of sufferers are mothers with too much on their plates who can’t concentrate. But to one psychotherapist, these very anxious women with zero attention spans are being misdiagnosed. Despite their symptoms, they’re just experiencing what “modern life” demands of them as mothers and there’s nothing to suggest that work is too strenuous.
Daniel Goldin, a California psychotherapist, is quoted as saying:
“If you’re feeling very anxious and doing 100 different things at once, your attention is going to suffer, the ability to plan and be goal-directed is going to become increasingly difficult…All these women being diagnosed with ADHD are just overwhelmed and anxious. It’s just modern life.”
Dr. Goldin is known for writing extensively on how forgetful behaviors are being placed under the ever-expanding umbrella of ADHD. While I recognize the need to not blow every incident of misplaced keys or forgotten wallet into a disorder, the women chronicled in this piece are indeed quite frazzled with daily demanding schedules:
[Michelle Suppers] spends hours in their playroom, stacking the toys neatly on shelves. She makes sure their days have the routine that she never had as a child and struggles with still as an adult. The children get regular exercise, play on sports teams, get a daily dose of fish oil, eat dinner at 6 p.m., have their baths and are in bed early. Suppers herself often won’t make it to bed until after midnight and then can fall asleep only after hours of TV or playing games on her iPod.
Dr. Goldin’s dismissal of any serious long-term effects implies that there is nothing detrimental about keeping up such a schedule. Meanwhile, I suspect that if a Dad was up at all hours stacking toys and doing dishes until well after midnight, his inability to concentrate long enough to make a decision about what to eat for dinner might be taken a little more seriously. Yet a mother’s hectic schedule day in and day out is assumed to be harmless on her mental health because well, she’s a mother.