ADHD and Women: Why they get missed

ADHD and womenOften, women and girls with ADHD tend to get missed. They are under-diagnosed, often misdiagnosed, and generally overlooked. At our clinic, we often see adult women who have been anxious or depressed for years. Then, in the end, we find out that ADHD was actually the root of their issues all along.

So why does this happen? Why have there been so many undiagnosed women with ADHD?

According to one article, many ADHD symptoms tend to express themselves differently in females. Often (but definitely not in all cases), females present with more inattentive symptoms. They are more 'scattered' and forgetful, and their symptoms are more internal. On the other side, males tend to be more hyperactive and impulsive. They often show more obvious symptoms, and because of this they are 'flagged' earlier on.

Traditional gender roles have also taught many girls to mask their symptoms. They have felt pressure to be "good girls" - well-behaved and soft-spoken. As a result, these girls often internalize their symptoms and view them as personal failings. They start believing that they're "lazy" or "not good enough." As an adult, this can translate into anxiety and depression.

There are many other factors that perpetuate this issue. Most of the research on ADHD focuses on boys. There also seems to be a myth that women, particularly driven women, can't have ADHD.

Whatever reason this has happened - it did. Thankfully, we're starting to recognize gender differences with ADHD more and more. We're seeing more adult women coming in to our clinic, and we're picking up on those inattentive girls much earlier.

Check out ADHD is Different for Women for another great article about this topic!


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