Suffering in Silence: Women and ADHD
When most people hear the term "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" (ADHD), it conjures images of children, usually boys. And there's some data to support that: According to the National Institute of Mental Health, experts estimate that, of the 3 to 5 percent of school-age children affected by ADHD, the majority of them are boys.
But ADHD also affects adults, and more and more females are being identified as having it. Many adults are unaware that they have the disorder—they often just feel that they're failures when it comes to getting organized, keeping a job, or staying on schedule.
It's not always easy to diagnose ADHD in adults, but a correct diagnosis may bring a sense of relief. Many ADHD adults have shown signs of the disease since childhood but were never diagnosed.
Women with ADHD may face special challenges in being accurately diagnosed. Medical professionals are more accustomed to seeing males with ADHD and might incorrectly diagnose female sufferers as having depression.
Outward expressions of ADHD symptoms may also be different in women, due to cultural norms and expectations. Women in general are apt to suppress signs of aggression or hyperactivity, so symptoms may be masked. Also, many women are hesitant to come across as complainers, so they may suffer in silence instead of voicing their concerns.
Diagnosis of ADHD
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an adult must have childhood-onset, persistent, and current symptoms to be diagnosed with ADHD. A diagnosis of adult ADHD should be made by a medical professional with expertise in the area of attention dysfunction.
For an accurate diagnosis, a history of the patient's childhood behavior, together with an interview with his or her life partner, a parent, close friend, or other close associate, will be needed. A physical examination and psychological tests should also be given.
As with children, adults who have ADHD may start treatment with medication or antidepressants. Education and psychotherapy have also been shown to be successful in treating adult ADHD. Discuss the options with your doctor to determine the best choice for you.
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.
Explore Original Articles About...
Get the MOST from QualityHealth
- Top Searches
- 1. Arthritis Management: Nature Heals
- 2. 5 Digestive To-Dos
- 3. Men: Should You Shave It or Leave It?
- 4. Today's Top Fitness Trends
- 5. Sugar and Osteoarthritis : The Link
- 6. Can't Afford Your Hospital Bills?
- 7. Stay Energized All Day Long
- 8. Phobias: Who Has Them and Why?
- 9. What If Your EpiPen Fails?
- 10. 5 Costly Medical Billing Mistakes
- 1. Ice Falls Can Cause Serious Injuries
- 2. Can Inactivity Act Like a Disease?
- 3. Kale Snack Recipe for Diabetics
- 4. How Running Affects Arthritis
- 5. Sugar and Your Immunity System
- 6. Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
- 7. 5 Super Foods for Spring
- 8. The Hazards of Reusable Bags
- 9. How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs
- 10. Health Tip: Constantly Change Shoes
- 1. 4 Common Treatments for Epilepsy
- 2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?
- 3. GERD Without Heartburn? It's Possible
- 4. Graston Technique: Can It Work on You?
- 5. Music Therapy Can Help Autism
- 6. 8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue
- 7. Can You Still Bleed After Menopause?
- 8. Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
- 9. Why Is Syphillis on the Rise?
- 10. Ideal Weight vs. Happy Weight
The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.