You might think that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is primarily a disease that affects children, mostly boys. But’National Institute for Mental Health reports that 3.2% of women ages 18 to 44 have ADHD, although it is often overlooked or misdiagnosed.
Because of this, it’s important to arm yourself with the right information, especially if you’re noticing signs or symptoms of ADHD.
What is ADHD?
Corresponding Mayo Clinic, ADHD in adults is a mental health disorder characterized by a pattern of persistent problems, such as B. Difficulty concentrating, impulsive actions, or restlessness. “Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is best described as an inconsistent ability to focus on what you really want,” he says Lesley Cook, PSI.
This can lead to organizational problems and express itself in impatience and anger, as if the line at the supermarket checkout was too slow. “Women with ADHD can be misdiagnosed with a mood or anxiety disorder,” she says David Goodman, MD, LFAPAAssociate Professor of Clinical and Behavioral Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.
What are the signs of ADHD in women?
ADHD is diagnosed in men almost twice as high Women are. according to a to learn from King’s College London. “However, in women assigned sex at birth, we see symptoms of inattention, not symptoms of hyperactivity,” says Cook. Specifically shared ADHD symptoms in women include:
- Not paying attention to details, which leads to mistakes
- Difficulty staying focused and listening to others
- Difficulty following instructions
- Easily distracted
“We don’t know exactly why there is a gender segregation in ADHD symptoms,” says Dr. Cook. “It might have to do with socialization — women are often encouraged from childhood not to be disruptive. There could also be a genetic component, but more studies are needed to really find out.
ADHD can cause different types of struggles in a woman’s life. “Women with undiagnosed ADHD are consistently inconsistent in completing tasks,” says Dr. Goodman. “This manifests itself in being late, missing appointments, misplacing keys or the phone, or being late to pick up the children from school. If you fail to pay a bill once or twice, it doesn’t mean you have ADHD. On the contrary, ADHD symptoms can be traced throughout life. “It’s helpful for women with ADHD to recognize a long-standing pattern,” says Dr. Cook. “If symptoms like poor concentration don’t come on suddenly — say, after you hit your head after a car accident — look back and see if those symptoms have had a negative impact on your life. »
Perhaps you know people all too well who you consider unreliable or unpredictable. “Women with ADHD often don’t even realize they have a treatable disorder,” adds Dr. Goodman added. “After listening to critics for decades, they can come to the conclusion, ‘I’m just like that.’ This type of thinking, in turn, can lower your self-esteem and even contribute to depression—this cycle can be difficult to break.
What to do if you suspect ADHD?
Getting a diagnosis is crucial. “Once your symptoms are effectively reduced, you will understand that what you have — ADHD — is different from who you are,” says Dr. Goodman. “Your confidence will increase. Visiting a doctor who is trained and experienced with adult ADHD is the best way to get an accurate assessment. Because 70% of adults with ADHD have another psychiatric disorder, a comprehensive assessment involves a long list of questions to explore the presence or absence of multiple psychiatric disorders beyond ADHD. »
Once you have a diagnosis, treatment consists of psychotherapy, medication, or both. Although you still have ADHD, you can learn to manage it extremely effectively and feel good about yourself and your potential. The key to success? “Think of the people in your life as your team,” says Dr. Cook. “Your team can include your doctor, your psychologist, your family, your friends, your boss. It can be hard to tell you have ADHD—shame and guilt can be part of the condition. You don’t deserve to feel this!
Allow others to give you the support you deserve and need.
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