Side Profile of Woman

The Underdiagnosing of ADHD in Women

Researchers have discovered that while boys with ADHD are frequently given stimulant drugs earlier than girls, girls with ADHD frequently go untreated until maturity. Girls and women frequently struggle due to the gender disparity in diagnosis and therapy. Because of this, females frequently experience the symptoms of ADHD for longer than boys do before getting a diagnosis and therapy.

Why are Women Often Misdiagnosed or Underdiagnosed with ADHD?

Girls frequently exhibit inattentive signs like carelessness, difficulty focusing, and order issues. Males frequently exhibit hyperactive/impulsive behaviors, such as speaking aloud or being unable to concentrate in class. Parents and instructors are more likely to observe these hyperactive/impulsive symptoms than inattentive ones, which can sometimes go unnoticed. Women who have ADHD are more likely to experience the following:

  • The symptoms of inattentiveness include forgetfulness in daily activities, difficulty organizing tasks and activities, difficulty paying attention to details or making mistakes in activities, difficulty maintaining attention on tasks, difficulty following through on instructions, and failing to complete duties.
  • Mood and worry signs that are internalized.
  • Women frequently feel overburdened by the demands of relationships and consequently have fewer fulfilling relationships. They struggle to maintain friendships and hardly ever start them. Isolation offers relief from discomfort and perplexity.
  • They frequently experience rejection sensitivity, a strong emotional reaction to actual or perceived rejection that can make social interaction painful.
  • Compared to women without ADHD, they are more apt to participate in risky sexual practices. One explanation is that early sexuality recognition quickly cuts to societal approval. In women with ADHD, it’s typical to discover a history of early sexual activity start, early intercourse, more sexual partners, more casual sex, less protected sex, more STDs, and more unexpected births. These events are typical symptoms of ADHD, but they also cause guilt.

Girls are also less likely to receive an early diagnosis because they frequently exhibit more anxious signs. Without first assessing her for ADHD, medical professionals can only address a female patient’s anxiety or melancholy. Things can get complicated by hormones, impacting signs of anxiety and ADHD. Some signs may worsen as a girl gets older or closer to her menstrual period, while they may get better at other times. This fluctuation in symptoms may contribute to delayed identification.

More women are eventually getting an ADHD diagnosis, as evidenced by the rise in female patients filling prescriptions for ADHD medication. Some experts call for more outstanding advocacy and teaching efforts to help women escape the significant emotional and societal costs of a delayed diagnosis. Researchers contend that the first step in improving ADHD identification, evaluation, and treatment—and eventually improving long-term results for girls and women with ADHD—is a better grasp of how the disorder manifests in females.

Family Psychiatry & Therapy can Help Ensure You’re Diagnosed Properly.

Our doctors and therapists at Family Psychiatry & Therapy are passionate about ensuring you receive the proper diagnosis. Call (201) 977-2889 to make an appointment if you’re having symptoms of ADHD or if you’re aware of a prior diagnosis. We identify and address any issues you may have accurately.

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Helene A. Miller / And Other Providers
Family Psychiatry and Therapy brings compassion, understanding, and skilled care to patients throughout New Jersey. Our team of mental health professionals focuses on providing a positive and uplifting experience that aids our patients in facing life’s toughest challenges.