ADD-ADHD
Psychological Disorders

Does ADHD exist in women?

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2015-07-15 18:20:04
2015-07-15 18:20:04

Many girls and women with ADD/ADHD are often undiagnosed because their symptoms look different from those in boys or men. Many girls or women may not appear hyperactive. Girls are usually less rebellious, less defiant and generally considered less difficult than boys. Boys who are hyperactive and disorganized are easier to spot and more likely to be referred for an evaluation.

There are several personality types of girls in which ADHD could be a factor. For example, there are girls who are shy and withdrawn, but disorganized. There are girls who are "tomboys," who are drawn to risky activities. They may be cooperative at school and work hard to please parents and teachers, but are often disorganized and messy. There are "daydreamers" or girls who seem to listen to teachers in class, but be in another world. They may find their minds wandering, are forgetful and disorganized. They become very anxious, depressed, worried and overwhelmed when schoolwork is due. They often are thought to be less bright than they actually are. "Chatty" girls also have high activity levels, and are very talkative and emotional, but can be forgetful and disorganized. Highly intelligent girls, with above average IQs, who have increasing problems with concentration and organization as their school life becomes more demanding also may have ADHD.

Women with ADHD who complain of feeling overwhelmed and disorganized tend to be diagnosed more often with depression. These women often feel a powerful sense of shame and inadequacy. They oftentimes need to spend all of their waking energy just fighting their natural tendency to be disorganized. Sometimes, ADHD does not become a problem until a woman has a baby or a second baby, when she is expected to be highly organized, accomplishing multiple roles under a lot of strain as both a caregiver and, in many cases, a career woman.

In addition to the above, lots of popular media in our culture, like women's magazines often have articles about how women are supposed to be multi-taskers, and how all women have trouble keeping up with kids, home, work, etc. You see it in movies and TV shows, too.

This can prolong denial, and make it harder for women to get diagnosed.

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