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Imposter Syndrome in Women with ADHD: Warning Signs, Effects, and Strategies


What’s inside this article: Overview of how imposter syndrome uniquely manifests in women with ADHD and provides strategies for overcoming self-doubt and recognizing one’s value and accomplishments.

Imposter syndrome affects many women with ADHD, creating a complex interplay of symptoms that can be challenging to manage. Imposter syndrome involves chronic feelings of self-doubt and the inability to internalize your accomplishments. 

This article explores how these conditions may intertwine and some strategies for dealing with them.

Some common signs of imposter syndrome include:

  • Self-doubt
  • Contributing your success to external factors like luck or timing
  • Believing you somehow deceived people into believing you’re more skilled or talented than you actually are
  • Overworking
  • Perfectionism
  • Fear of failure
  • Undermining your achievements 
  • Avoiding challenges
  • Constantly seeking external validation
  • Constantly comparing yourself to others, leading to feelings of inadequacy 
  • Fear of being “exposed” 

Imposter syndrome can significantly hamper career development because chronic feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy may cause you to undervalue your skills and achievements, shun opportunities for advancement, and avoid seeking or accepting additional responsibilities. 

This constant fear of being exposed as a fraud may result in over-preparation and excessive hard work, leading to burnout and work-related stress. Or, it may cause procrastination and avoidance, impacting productivity and job performance. 

This may cause you to miss out on opportunities for promotions and leadership roles, not because of a lack of competence or ability but due to a debilitating lack of self-belief.

How Imposter Syndrome Manifests in Women with ADHD

Heightened Self-Doubt:

Women with ADHD may already struggle with low self-esteem due to the challenges posed by ADHD, such as difficulties in focusing, organizing, and completing tasks. 

This self-doubt can intensify when combined with imposter syndrome, making it harder for them to recognize and value their achievements.


To cope with their insecurities, women with ADHD might overcompensate by working excessively hard. This can lead to burnout and reinforce the belief that they are not naturally capable or talented, further entrenching feelings of being an “imposter.”

Sensitivity to Criticism:

Many women with ADHD deal with something called rejection-sensitive dysphoria (RSD). 

RSD makes individuals more sensitive to feedback, and when paired with imposter syndrome, even constructive criticism can be perceived as a confirmation of their perceived inadequacy.


Both conditions can foster perfectionism. Women with ADHD may set unrealistically high standards for themselves in an attempt to mask their struggles, and any failure to meet these standards can reinforce feelings of incompetence.

Strategies for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome for Women with ADHD:

Develop Self-Awareness:

Understanding the interrelation between ADHD and imposter syndrome is crucial. 

Keeping a journal to track achievements, challenges, thoughts, and feelings can provide insights and help recognize self-doubt patterns and negative self-talk.

Seek Professional Support:

Counseling or therapy, particularly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), can assist in addressing negative thought patterns and behaviors. 

ADHD coaching or support groups can also provide strategies for managing ADHD symptoms.

Establish Realistic Goals:

Setting and achieving small, attainable goals can build confidence and a sense of accomplishment. 

Break tasks into smaller steps and celebrate each achievement, no matter how small it may seem.

Positive Affirmations:

Regularly affirming your value and worth can help rewire the brain to think more positively. 

Positive affirmations can enhance self-esteem, boost your confidence, and help you build resilience. Check out these 100 positive affirmations for women with ADHD. 


Understanding ADHD and imposter syndrome can help you better understand yourself and how these conditions impact you. It also helps in normalizing experiences and feelings. 

Numerous books, articles, and online resources are available that provide insights and coping strategies.

Develop Healthy Lifestyle Habits:

Regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and stress management techniques such as mindfulness and meditation can help in managing ADHD symptoms and reducing anxiety and depression associated with imposter syndrome.

But remember, trying to take on too much at once or change too many habits simultaneously is overwhelming and impedes your chances of developing new habits successfully. It’s best to work on changing one or two things at a time. Find some tips here.

Establish a Support Network:

Connecting with others with ADHD or experiencing imposter syndrome can provide support, understanding, and shared experiences. 

Online forums, social media groups, and local meetups can be valuable resources for finding like-minded individuals.

Imposter syndrome manifests uniquely in women with ADHD, exacerbating feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. 

It requires a multi-faceted approach that involves 

  • increasing self-awareness
  • seeking professional support
  • setting realistic goals
  • using positive affirmations
  • acquiring knowledge
  • maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • building a supportive network.

Developing a compassionate and accepting relationship with yourself is essential for mitigating the impacts of imposter syndrome. 

By implementing the strategies outlined above, women with ADHD can begin recognizing and embracing their value and accomplishments, paving the way for a more fulfilled and balanced life.