In today’s society, too often Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is considered a male problem. This is a grave misconception. The typical markers of ADD/ADHD behavior present distinctly differently in females than they do in males. As a result, women who have ADHD often get misdiagnosed with emotionally based psychiatric illnesses such as anxiety or depression, and the real ADD/ADHD symptoms may be missed.
Attention Deficit Disorder in Girls & Women
Understanding the difference of ADD/ADHD symptoms in boys and girls is vital to finding the correct diagnosis. Currently, in most school systems, teachers are trained to detect ADD/ADHD in boys and not in girls. For example, in boys, this behavior is often displayed with visible signs of classroom disruption: the inability to sit still, agitation, or hyperactivity. For girls however, ADHD is much harder to detect. For example, girls with ADD/ADHD work hard to hide their symptoms, wishing not be singled out as being different. Young girls are often socialized to be “people pleasers,” so they work hard not to upset a teacher or parent, thus minimizing the chances that their problems with be discovered.
It is imperative for girls and women to be understood emotionally in order to be diagnosed correctly with ADHD. The more educated parents, therapists and educators become on this topic, the less likely ADD/ADHD will be misdiagnosed in females. It is important to understand that many doctors and psychiatrists who do not specialize in ADD/ADHD will prescribe an antidepressant pill instead of an ADHD medication. This only adds more stress to the already existing problem. In order for girls and women with ADHD to thrive, it is necessary for them to seek help through a therapist who has an understanding of ADD/ADHD and who knows how the specific symptoms show up in women in order to correctly treat and help them. Only when the distinct ADD/ADHD symptoms in women are fully understood and recognized, rather than overlooked, will girls and women get the proper treatment they need to alleviate their symptoms.