Studies have found that over 90% of women who have ADHD are not being treated. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both men and women, yet women are often underdiagnosed and their symptoms may be overlooked. The three parts of the ADHD diagnostic criteria include: hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity. Whilst those characteristics occur naturally in human beings, individuals with ADHD experience a more extreme form which affects their daily functioning. In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why women may be underdiagnosed with ADHD. We will also explore the unique challenges women face in managing the condition.
Symptoms in women
Women are often underdiagnosed with ADHD as their symptoms are different to those typically seen in men. While men with ADHD are more likely to be hyperactive and impulsive, women with ADHD are more likely to have symptoms of inattention and disorganization. These symptoms may be more subtle and less noticeable, leading to a delay in diagnosis.
There are also misconceptions that ADHD is a condition that only affects children, or that it is a disorder of boys. These misconceptions can lead to a lack of understanding and recognition of ADHD in women. This makes it more difficult for women to receive the diagnosis and treatment they need.
Challenges faced by women with ADHD
Women with ADHD face unique challenges in managing the condition, including difficulties in juggling multiple roles and responsibilities, such as work, family, and home. They may also struggle with social isolation and low self-esteem, as well as with difficulties in relationships and communication.
Strategies for managing ADHD:
- Seek professional help: It’s important to see a healthcare professional who is trained to diagnose and treat ADHD.
- Keep a symptom diary: Keeping a diary of symptoms can help in identifying patterns, triggers and in discussing them with a healthcare professional.
- Create a supportive network: Building a supportive network of friends and family can provide emotional support and understanding.
- Self-care: Taking care of yourself is essential in managing symptoms of ADHD. This includes getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in regular physical activity.
- Accommodations: Accommodations such as extra time for tasks, breaking down tasks into smaller chunks and using technology to aid organisation.
In conclusion, women may be underdiagnosed with ADHD due to the subtlety of their symptoms, misconceptions and biases. It is important to seek professional help, keep a symptom diary, create a supportive network, practice self-care and use accommodations to help manage symptoms of ADHD.
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