Once thought to be a childhood disorder, ADHD was reported to persist into adulthood in an estimated 50–65% of patients. The estimated lifetime prevalence of ADHD in the U.S. adults aged 18 to 44 years was 8.1%. ADHD diagnoses among adults are growing 4x faster than are ADHD diagnoses among children in the United States (26.4% increase among children compared to 123.3 percent among adults).
Women with ADHD
Once thought to be a disorder that mainly occurred in boys, it is now widely recognized that a large number of girls and women suffer from ADHD, and that it persists into adulthood in 30% to 70% of cases. Females with ADHD may be overlooked because they develop better coping strategies than males to mask their symptoms.
50 percent of people with ADHD also suffer from one or more additional condition, referred to as a comorbidity. 8.3% of 585 adults with ADHD had a comorbid mood (9.3%), anxiety (8.8%), substance-use (11.5%) or behavioural (15.6%) disorder. The highest rates of ADHD were seen in those with oppositional defiant disorder or adult antisocial behaviour disorder (35.5%), bipolar (15.2%), panic disorder (14.4%), social phobia (12.0%) and any substance use (11.5%).
31% to 45% of children with ADHD have a learning disability, and vice versa. It is estimated that as many as one-third of those with LD also have ADHD.
65 percent struggled with written.
32 percent struggled with reading.
30 percent struggled with math.
Women are overlooked
Women have endured unique challenges when seeking ADHD treatment due to lack of public and professional awareness, research, education, acceptance, diagnostic & treatment knowledge and social stigma. Women are frequently ignored, invalidated, dismissed or even misdiagnosed by family members, friends, teachers, co-workers, doctors, researchers, mental health professionals, and more. This leads to feelings shame, isolation, confusion, & why most women with ADHD are going undiagnosed or treated!
By adulthood, the male/female gender ratio of ADHD is closer to 1:1, which suggests that ADHD is underdiagnosed in girls. Females with ADHD may develop better coping strategies than males with ADHD and, as a result, can better mask or mitigate the impact of their ADHD symptoms.
Sparse research on Women
The diagnostic criteria and the general understanding of ADHD today is mainly based on observations of how the disorder is manifested in young boys, while knowledge about the impact and expression of ADHD in girls and women remains sparse.
Women and girls with ADHD have a distinct symptom presentation, with internalizing symptoms (limited attention span, forgetfulness, distractibility, daydreaming, difficulty following directions) being more prominent than externalizing symptoms (eg, impulsiveness and hyperactivity). Women with ADHD face feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, psychological distress, feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and chronic stress. Often women with ADHD feel that their lives are out of control or in chaos, and daily tasks may seem impossibly huge. Greater awareness on the part of health care professionals regarding the specific symptom profile of ADHD in women and girls is necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Adult ADHD Assessment
I conduct thorough ADHD assessments for adults who suspect they have ADHD. The assessment includes a detailed telehealth interview and questionnaires. Self-report questionnaires and questionnaires completed by 1 of the following: a significant other, sibling, parent or childhood/good friend (if possible) in order to gain perspective. After questionnaires have been scored and the interview is complete, I provide a comprehensive report detailing the results of the evalutaion with recommendations.