Women’s History Month: The Underdiagnosis of ADHD in Females

Women's History Month: The Underdiagnosis of ADHD in Fe

During Women’s History Month, as we honor the pivotal contributions of women to our society, it’s crucial to also recognize the unique challenges that women with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) face. Despite increased recognition of ADHD, many women with the condition remain underdiagnosed and lack proper treatment, significantly affecting their quality of life.

The National Institute of Mental Health notes that ADHD impacts about 4% of American adults, with studies indicating that the prevalence among women is comparable to men. Nonetheless, the diagnosis of ADHD in women is frequently overlooked or incorrect, stemming from a shortage of awareness and understanding about how ADHD presents differently in women.

Diagnostic Challenges for Females with ADHD

One reason for the underdiagnosis of ADHD in women is that the diagnostic criteria for the condition were developed based on research conducted primarily on males. This has led to a misunderstanding of how ADHD can manifest in women, who may not exhibit the same hyperactive and impulsive behaviors as men, but instead struggle with symptoms such as disorganization, forgetfulness, and trouble focusing. These issues are further explored in “How to Help a Person with Trust Issues,” which touches on related struggles.

In my practice, we have seen an increase of women coming to get ADHD assessments, which is a promising sign that more women are recognizing their symptoms and seeking help. However, many women with ADHD still face significant barriers to diagnosis and treatment, including stigma surrounding mental health conditions and a lack of awareness among healthcare professionals.

Another factor contributing to the underdiagnosis of ADHD in women is the stigma surrounding mental health conditions, which can make women hesitant to seek treatment or speak openly about their symptoms. Women with ADHD may also face additional challenges, such as the expectations placed on them to multitask and manage multiple responsibilities, which can exacerbate their symptoms and make it difficult to seek help.

adhd in women

The Importance of Addressing the Underdiagnosis of ADHD in Females

Fortunately, awareness of ADHD in women is growing, and more and more women are seeking diagnosis and treatment for the condition. Diagnosis often involves a combination of self-reporting, assessment by a mental health professional, and testing to rule out other conditions. Treatment may include medication, such as Adderall or Ritalin, as well as therapy and coaching to develop strategies for managing symptoms. Treatment may include medication, therapy, and coaching. Understanding the full range of treatments available is crucial, as discussed in “How to Get the Most Out of Therapy.”

In honor of Women’s History Month, it’s important to continue raising awareness of ADHD in women and advocating for better diagnosis and treatment. By recognizing the unique challenges faced by women with ADHD and working to overcome the stigma and barriers to care, we can help women with ADHD live happier, more fulfilling lives. To understand more about ADHD medication, “Can Urgent Care Prescribe Antidepressants?” provides relevant information


Adeel Sarwar’s Bio:

Adeel Sarwar is a psychotherapist based in the UK, specializing in depression, anxiety, ADHD, eating disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). With years of experience in the field, Adeel has seen firsthand the challenges faced by women with ADHD and is dedicated to raising awareness of the condition and advocating for better access to care for all.

Adeel is also a consultant with ADHDtest.ai, a startup that specializes in AI diagnosis for ADHD, and is committed to using the latest technology to improve diagnosis and treatment for individuals with the condition.

For those considering therapy, “Do Therapists Go to Therapy?” can provide valuable perspective.