woman with glasses looking overwhelmed by her thoughts to symbolize ADHD in women

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in women is a growing area of interest, especially because so many women go undiagnosed as children. In fact, girls are diagnosed 50% less than boys. But why is this? Understanding ADHD symptoms in women and how they differ from men is important in rectifying underdiagnosis and closing the gap between treatment discrepancies. 

How Is ADHD in Women Different From Men?

ADHD often manifests differently in women than in men, which contributes to its underdiagnosis in girls. Physical hyperactivity, risk-taking, and externalization of emotions are the traits parents and teachers are often told to look for, and these are simply more common in boys than in girls. 

Girls, on the other hand, tend to lean toward the inattentive aspect of ADHD, internalizing emotions and daydreaming instead of focusing on the task at hand. They can be hyperactive, but it is often verbal rather than physical. Because the symptoms are more subtle and less disruptive, they may be overlooked. 

Many women with ADHD may even have received positive feedback for certain characteristics as a child. Verbal communication is praised more often in girls than in boys due to earlier onset; verbal hyperactivity may have been seen as a sign of precociousness or social maturity as opposed to a sign of ADHD. 

The Subtle Signs of ADHD in Women

ADHD in women manifests in a variety of ways, many of which can negatively impact relationships, work, and general quality of life. An adult woman with ADHD may demonstrate:

Forgetfulness

Constantly wondering why you walked into a particular room, where you left your keys, or dealing with the ever-present feeling that you are supposed to be somewhere are common among women with untreated ADHD. 

Hyperfocus

Inattentiveness does not, necessarily, mean women with ADHD cannot focus. On the contrary, they may hyperfocus, devoting all of their mental and physical energy to one task they find particularly engrossing. This can lead to them eschewing other important aspects of daily life, including personal care. For example, it is not uncommon for women with ADHD to forgo things like drinking water, eating, or going to the bathroom until a certain task is complete. 

Time Blindness

ADHD in women can also present as difficulty managing time. Many individuals cannot grasp how long an activity will take, giving themselves either too little or too much time to complete a task or to reach a destination. This is part of general disorganization known as “executive dysfunction,” and it can lead to tension and stress in the workplace. 

Clumsiness

Another very common symptom of ADHD in women is clumsiness: constantly bumping into things, dropping things, and being unable to recall where a bruise came from are due to impaired spatial awareness and coordination in individuals with ADHD. 

Verbal Hyperactivity

Remember that ADHD in women often presents as verbal hyperactivity as opposed to physical hyperactivity (though that can certainly be present as well). Women with ADHD may tell seemingly never-ending stories, distracted by related anecdotes or trivia that they feel are just as important as the main idea. 

How Prevalent Is ADHD in Women? 

ADHD is not as commonly diagnosed in women as in men, but this doesn’t mean it’s less prevalent. Studies indicate that many women remain undiagnosed until adulthood. The rising awareness and understanding of ADHD in adults have led to an increase in diagnosis, yet there is still much work to be done in recognizing the full scope of ADHD in women.

The prevalence of undiagnosed ADHD in women is underscored by the sheer volume of women searching for information on this topic each month. According to SEMRush, a software used to research internet search volume on various topics, over 33,000 internet users are Googling “ADHD symptoms in women” every month. By contrast, around 1,900 users search for “ADHD in men.”

Search volumes for ADHD symptoms in women far exceed those of men, as do other related search terms. 

How Does ADHD in Women Affect Quality of Life?

ADHD can significantly impact the quality of life for women. Women with ADHD often struggle with the following:

The constant battle with organizational tasks and time management can lead to high-stress levels and feelings of inadequacy. This, in turn, can exacerbate mental health issues such as anxiety and depression and lead to burnout. Furthermore, the social stigma and misunderstanding surrounding ADHD can lead to isolation and low self-esteem.

What Is the Treatment for ADHD in Adult Women?

Treatment for ADHD in adult women typically involves a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle modifications. Stimulant medications and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as Qelbree, are commonly prescribed and can help improve focus and reduce impulsivity. Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in helping women develop coping strategies, organizational skills, and emotional regulation.

Treat ADHD Symptoms In Destin

Understanding ADHD symptoms in women is crucial for better diagnosis, treatment, and support. By recognizing the unique and subtle ways ADHD presents in women, we can work towards more inclusive and effective approaches to managing this condition. 

The Crane Center is a top ADHD clinic in Destin, Florida. If you think you or your child may be affected by ADHD, schedule an appointment today. Our compassionate and highly skilled clinicians will develop a care plan to help you take control of your ADHD and regain your quality of life. Call, text, or go online today to get started.  

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