ADHD: Why is it underdiagnosed in women?

By Argie Dabrowski

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent issues with concentration and attention, as well as frequent hyperactive and impulsive behavior. For many years, ADHD was believed to only affect young boys, but it is now known to affect both men and women of all age groups. Even today, though, ADHD is often underdiagnosed in girls, many of whom only get a diagnosis much later in life or not at all.

This underdiagnosis of ADHD in girls has multiple causes. Primarily, ADHD presents differently in girls than boys, with boys demonstrating symptoms more stereotypically associated with the disorder. When most people imagine ADHD, they think of a young child, calling out randomly in class, bouncing up and down in their desk, fidgeting, and unable to remain still. This image can make it difficult to pick up on ADHD in girls, who display it differently.

Girls tend to display more internal symptoms than external symptoms, as boys do. This is mainly through inattentiveness and daydreaming. Internal symptoms are more subtle and, therefore, difficult to pick up on in order to make a proper diagnosis. Additionally, girls with ADHD often display intense emotional responses, rather than typical impulsivity and hyperactivity. This can be misinterpreted as immaturity, so it is not often picked up on as a symptom of ADHD.

Oftentimes, as well, girls have co-occurring conditions that can cause ADHD to be overlooked. Girls and women with ADHD are more likely than their male counterparts to suffer from depression and anxiety. Both of these conditions can present with some symptoms similar to ADHD, such as restlessness and issues with concentration. All these factors combined make it difficult for women and girls to get the proper diagnosis and treatment for their ADHD, but with awareness and education, this can change.

If you or someone you know is struggling with ADHD, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:
psycom.net/diagnosing-adhd-girls-women/
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4195638/
bbc.com/future/article/20190530-why-is-adhd-missed-in-girls
childmind.org/article/how-girls-with-adhd-are-different/

Image Source:
healthline.com/health/adhd/4-signs-adhd-or-quirky#2

ADHD: Treatment

By: Elyse Ganss

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD, is characterized by a pattern of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity that impedes normal functioning and activity. For example, someone who has ADHD may be unable to focus on a task or will constantly move around and fidget.

Diagnosis of ADHD can only be given by a licensed clinician like a psychologist or psychiatrist. Typically, ADHD will only be diagnosed if there is a repeated pattern over a period time of inattention and hyperactivity. In children, a diagnosis requires a child falling behind in development. Adults who suffer from ADHD may have poor academic performance in school or issues at work as a result of inattention.

Risk factors for ADHD include genetics, exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy, behavioral toxins, and low birth weight. Treatment for ADHD may include therapy or medication to reduce symptoms and improve functioning. When medication is needed, doctors typically prescribe a stimulant that increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain. This improves thinking and attention.

Therapy can help a person suffering from ADHD develop coping mechanisms like mindfulness or possibly meditation. Simple strategies like making lists, keeping a stable routine, utilizing a calendar, and creating reminder notes may help a person with ADHD improve functioning.

If you or someone you know needs support for ADHD, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml

Image Source:

https://img.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeed-static/static/2017-01/10/18/campaign_images/

ADHD: Recognizing Symptoms

adhd-bergen-county-NJ-therapy

ADHD: Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder

By: Denice Vidals

ADHD is a common disorder characterized by a pattern of inattention and hyperactivity. Symptoms of ADHD can appear as early as 3 to 6 years old and can continue into adolescence and adulthood. In order for an adult to be diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms must have been present prior to 12 years old. Although everyone may experience feelings of impulsivity and inattention, people with ADHD experience these symptoms more severely, more often, and they often interfere with how the individual functions in social settings.

According to the DSM-V, a diagnosis of ADHD is given when 6 or more symptoms of inattention are present for children up to age 16. Only 5 symptoms of inattention are needed for adults and regardless of age, symptoms must be present for at least 6 months. Inattention can be characterized as having trouble paying attention, overlooking details, making careless mistakes, being easily distracted by unrelated stimuli, being forgetful, and having trouble organizing tasks and following instructions.

A diagnosis of ADHD can also be given when 6 or more symptoms of hyperactivity are present for children up to age 16. Only 5 symptoms are required for a diagnosis of ADHD for adults. These symptoms must be present for at least 6 months as well. Hyperactivity can be described as constantly being in motion, interrupting others during conversation or activities, constantly talking, unable to wait patiently for one’s turn, squirming in one’s seat, and fidgeting with one’s hands or feet often.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of ADHD, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, August 31). Retrieved March 22, 2018 from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html

National Institute of Mental Health. (2017, November). Retrieved March 22, 2018 from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd.shtml