Why is ADHD underdiagnosed in women?

Thousands of women do not have their attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosed because women are dismissed as anxious or depressed due to gender bias.

Speaking to the BBC, a woman who has now been diagnosed with ADHD said, “I’ve been telling doctors and therapists all along, ‘You have to stop this constant sound in my head. I can’t think, can’t sleep. I can’t find peace, ‘but that was always dismissed as fear or women’s problems. “

This does not seem to be an isolated incident.

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New statistics show that many women have to wait years or even decades for a formal assessment of their ADHD symptoms, and the pandemic has made waiting times worse.

On this subject, Dr. Tony Lloyd, CEO of the ADHD Foundation, “Women have been doing a great disservice” because of inequality in diagnosed ADHD.

“There are many women who experience a lot of stress and it is unnecessary for us to recognize it early.”

ADHD is often misunderstood and underdiagnosed in young girls.

Often never addressed, it has a profound impact on the lives of thousands of women who grow up without knowing why they can’t focus or “what’s wrong”.

Why is ADHD underdiagnosed in women?

ADHD in women is underdiagnosed because the disorder manifests itself differently in women and is believed to be predominantly boys and men.

In reality, girls and women are equally likely to be affected.

“In schools, girls may be labeled daydreamers or weaklings or talkers, but they can also mask their emotions much better in order to react in a socially acceptable manner,” says Dr. Lloyd.

Pressure on girls to be well organized and self-controlled limits the diagnosis of ADHD, while boys are reportedly encouraged to express themselves and show obvious hyperactivity.

“You suppress who you are so you can look like a normal person – but it’s exhausting,” the source told the BBC.

Diagnosing ADHD is incredibly important. A study by ADHD action found that 96 percent of adults experienced the onset or increase in health or social effects while waiting for a diagnosis of ADHD, including problems with family or work; Anxiety or panic attacks; and even thoughts of suicide or attempted suicide.

92 percent of the study participants thought that being diagnosed with ADHD made their lives better.


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