Thursday, March 8, 2012

ADHD In Women - Why Are Women Less Likely To Be Diagnosed With ADHD

Astonishingly enough, I have spoken to several people who had absolutely no idea that women can also be affected by ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Many believe this is a mental health problem only affecting males, but they really couldn't be any further from the truth. To the contrary, many women have ended up having to suffer in silence as a result of this type of misinformation.

Admittedly, males do seem to be more at risk, but the divide is getting smaller as our understanding of the disorder increases. One of the most important things we've discovered so far is that the signs and symptoms of the disorder are not always the same as they are in males. There's also a wider acceptance that girls are less likely to display typical ADHD behavior, since such behavior in a girl is less acceptable in a girl than it is in a boy.

Boys may be allowed to run riot for a number of years, until such time that their behavior becomes seriously problematic. Girls on the other hand, are generally expected to behave like girls. In essence, even if a girl has ADHD, she will be taught from a very young age to control her emotions and behaviors. In a way, one could even compare this to Behavioral Modification Therapy, although it is of course taking place unknowingly.

Still, a girl with ADHD will be at a disadvantage. If a girl is inattentive in class, she'll more often than not be labeled as being lazy in terms of her school work. Girls with ADHD also don't tend to exhibit signs of hyperactivity in the same way boys do. Unlike boys, girls will often withdraw, and they might even come across as being introverts.

Despite the external difference, girls with ADHD encounter the same emotional difficulties. They too wish to be just like all their peers, and they too would like to excel with their schoolwork, but ADHD invariably makes this impossible, and especially if left untreated. Alarmingly enough, ADHD often not diagnosed until girls reach adulthood, and even then, it's often diagnosed unintentionally.

Regularly, parents might be advised to take their child for screening, and it's during this screening process that many women first begin to suspect that they themselves might have the disorder. Sadly, many adult women are immediately placed on regular ADHD prescription drugs, despite the fact that there's strong evidence to suggest adults are able to manage/control ADHD without the use of prescription meds.

ADHD in women is certainly not as uncommon as was once believed, but even so, there is still so much we don't know, simply because the focus has primarily been on males in the past. Now that our knowledge base is expanding, hopefully fewer women will be left to suffer in silence.

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