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: How Medication Helps Your Children

By Samantha Glosser

Stimulant drugs, such as Adderall and Ritalin, have been used for numerous years as the frontline treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. ADHD is a disorder characterized by the following symptoms: inattentiveness, distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The five to seven percent of children diagnosed with ADHD have difficulty concentrating, become disruptive and defiant, and have a hard time getting along with family members, peers, and teachers. These behaviors are clinically proven to improve with the use of stimulant drugs.

Treatment with stimulant drugs can improve classroom performance and behavior in children diagnosed with ADHD. But how does the medication do this? The medication works by targeting and improving specific cognitive processes, such as working memory, which is your ability to hold and manipulate information in your mind. Stimulants help kids store more information in their working memory, while also helping them to inhibit negative behaviors (i.e., raising their hand when they know the answer instead of shouting it out). Improvement of these cognitive processes also helps to increase attention span, which allows kids to stay on task for longer periods of time. If you believe medication is not the best option for your child, behavioral treatment and parent training can also be beneficial in improving these cognitive processes. Children can be trained to improve their self-control and sustain concentration.

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), 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/.

Nauret, R. (2018, July 31). Study Probes How ADHD Meds Improve Cognition & Behavior in Kids. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/07/31/study-probes-how-adhd-meds-improve-cognition-behavior-in-kids/137456.html

ADHD. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/adhd