What is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
Signs And Symptoms
According to Medical News Today, women with ADHD may report the following symptoms:
- Forgetting things or misplace items
- Having difficulty staying organized
- Acting on impulses without thinking it through
- Getting caught in daydreams
- Being excessively chatty
- Making careless mistakes
- Fidgeting or finding it difficult to sit still
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Developing lower self-esteem because of these challenges
These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can lead to issues in personal, professional, or academic spaces. Individuals with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder may also exhibit signs of creativity, high levels of energy, and spurts of what is called “hyperfocus.”
Causes of ADHD
While the causes and risk factors of ADHD are largely unknown, researchers are working to better understand what leads to the development of this disorder. Genetic factors, brain injury, low birth weight, premature birth, and exposure to environmental stressors in vitro or at a young age have all been linked to ADHD through recent studies. There is often misinformation shared about the causes of ADHD. Poverty, sugar, or television, for example, do not cause Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, as sometimes claimed.
ADHD in Girls and Women
It is important to note that ADHD is more difficult to detect in women. While boys and men with disorder exhibit outward-facing indicators, such as inappropriate, hyperactive, or aggressive behaviors, the presentation of ADHD in girls and women can be much more inward-facing.
Common symptoms in females include attentional difficulties and low self-esteem. For these reasons, girls and women will often go undiagnosed. Women experiencing ADHD are often misdiagnosed with anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder.
There is a lack of research on ADHD in women, and the field is working to conduct more studies to better understand exactly how this disorder impacts women as opposed to men. Recent findings have indicated that overeating and sleep deprivation might be two conditions that uniquely occur in women with ADHD. However, there are likely more female-specific manifestations of the disorder that are yet to be determined.
Treatment Options for ADHD
The most effective treatment for ADHD is a combination of medication and talk therapy. There are many kinds of treatment, and one form might work for some but not for others.
Talk therapy helps individuals develop coping strategies, including stress management, mindfulness techniques, and life-management skills, that improve self-esteem.
Medications are another treatment option for individuals diagnosed with ADHD. Perhaps the most common choice for ADHD medication is a stimulant such as Adderall and Ritalin. Non-stimulant drugs such as atomoxetine can also help manage symptoms of ADHD. Finally, anti-depressants can not only be effective for depression, but can also improve symptoms of ADHD in certain cases.
Frequently Ask Questions
According to the research conducted by Dr. Julia Rucklidge and Dr. Bonnie Kaplan, poor self-esteem has been identified as a significant and common problems among girls and women with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The low self-esteem is a result of early experiences of academic struggles, negative feedback from people around them, and negative perception of self.
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) medication is likely a controlled substance, which is any drug or medical substance that is regulated by federal or state law due to addictive properties that can potentially lead to abuse.
It tends to be more challenging to detect Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in girls and women because the manifestation of the disorder is often more inward-facing (e.g., attentional difficulties, low self-esteem) than the outward-facing symptoms associated with boys and men (e.g., hyperactivity, aggression).
The information on this page, or elsewhere on this site, is not intended to take the place of diagnosis, treatment or informed advice from a qualified mental health professional. You should not take or avoid any action without consultation with the latter.
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Crawford, N. (2003, February). ADHD: a women’s issue. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/monitor/feb03/adhd
Martin, L. (2021, August 30). What to know about ADHD in women. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/adhd-in-women
Moore, W. (2021, March 15). Adult ADHD: Treatment overview. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/adult-adhd-treatment-overview
Rucklidge, J. J., & Kaplan, B. J. (1997). Psychological functioning of women identified in adulthood with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Attention Disorders, 2, 167-176.
Sreenivas, S. (2021, March 18). ADHD in women. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/features/adhd-in-women