ADHD in Women
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ADHD Looks Different in Women. Here's How — and Why.

ADHD impacts both genders equally, but outdated stereotypes leave too many women undiagnosed and feeling hopelessly ditzy, dumb, or depressed. ADHD often looks different in girls or women. Unfortunately, many clinicians may still not recognize and accurately diagnose their ADHD. This can be a tremendous barrier to effective treatment.

3 Comments: ADHD Looks Different in Women. Here's How — and Why.

  1. Thank you for this information!
    I was diagnosed at 24 the first time, but the doctor I was seeing at the time, suddenly left. It wasn’t mentioned again. I saw a “behavior health consultant” sometime in my 20s and he told me I was “being a typical female”. As soon as he said that I walked out of the room. He obviously didn’t know much about behavioral health and needed to be trained more.
    I was diagnosed again at 38. I was put on adderall and wellbutrin. The meds doc I had was wonderful. She listened and gave me solace in knowing I wasn’t crazy. She also suddenly left the clinic.
    I was then given a new meds doc. I didn’t trust this lady from day 1. She made me feel inadequate and that everything I was saying was a lie. To the point I have been off my meds for a year now.
    Recently I learned what gaslighting is. I figured out the meds doc I was reassigned to was actually gaslighting me the whole time. She was telling me my symptoms are actually caused by sleep apnea. That the depression, hyperactivity, insomnia, and fidgeting were because I couldn’t get the proper amount of REM sleep.
    I told her that I have had these problems since long before adulthood. I was taken into the hallway of my elementary school to be taught by the “grammas for being “unruly” and “unable to sit still”. She said that that didn’t matter, it was sleep apnea and I was making up the symptoms to get the stimulant medication.
    Being that I have never met this doctor face to face and only through a zoom conference call, I decided to be done with trying to defend myself. Especally to someone who I had met 3 months prior through zoom.
    It hasn’t been easy, my moods are irrational a lot of the time and my husband says i am over-reacting too much, which then leads to an argu,emt that we shouldn’t even be having because I am over-reacting. Ugh, a vicious cycle.

  2. The more stories about women with ADHD in ADDitude the better! I would very much like to hear about research being done for post-menopausal women, every book and article seems to stop at perimenopause, but as we age and lose more estrogen the more difficult it is to function. I was not diagnosed until 62, and was pretty much in a fog for those 10 long years due to the antidepressant i was prescribed by my doctor – no questions asked, just wrote the scrip…. I lost 3 jobs during that time, and was out of work 1-2 years between each position, damaging my best earning years. I transferred out of state 2 weeks after I got my diagnosis report and had no references in this area for meds management for 2 years. Then was on Adderall and now on Vyvanse but nothing is working for me, and I lost the job I transferred here for, so have to ‘retire’ because I still have no executive functions. I can’t get any psych to understand how different it is for women my age and noone is willing to try something new or reduce the antidepressant I have been on for now 14 years….

  3. Thank you ADDitude for this story, I for one liked it since I have believed that my add/adhd is genetic through my maternal side.
    However , back in around the late 1930’s up to nowadays how ADD affects one’s place in life it was boys/males that was seen as the challenge. And that girls/females were strongly ignored and /or sympathized and forgiven immediately.

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