Many statistics are revealing that more and more women are being diagnosed with ADHD as adults. That really is not such a surprise. ADHD combined, including the hyperactive piece of ADHD, is more often seen in boys. Their behavior demands diagnosis many times because of the disruption in the classroom. So this population receives needed treatment early on.
On the other hand, the girl who is inattentive and not hyperactive and impulsive sits quietly in the classroom, not creating havoc. As time goes on, they know that they are different than their peers but their lack of outright disruption does not create the need for any diagnosis. But their struggles are many despite the lack of obvious and chaotic behavior. Many may struggle due to a learning difference, since these difficulties co-exist up to 40% in cases of ADHD. But the core symptoms of ADHD are not discovered. Once they grow up, these women have more on their plates and struggle with many of the impairments that are included under the umbrella of ADHD and executive functioning. As they go on to college, jobs, spouses, and families, they can begin to develop anxiety and depression because of the inability to complete tasks and achieve goals. All of the areas of ADHD: focus, transition, organization, time management, distractions, emotional regulation, and working memory rear their ugly head as life in general becomes more demanding.
Certainly, we can’t leave out the undiagnosed boys who also do not show signs of hyperactivity! But their numbers are just fewer. But the bottom line: This is a call for continued, more improved diagnosis of our kids with ADHD; a call to schools to better understand and manage this neurobiological diagnosis; a call to pay attention to our children’s self-esteem and reinforce positively their accomplishments; and a call for a continued increase in parents’ knowledge base of ADHD in order to realize the red flags and best advocate for their kids.
This early diagnosis and treatment also impacts future generations in that those women having children will most likely have children with ADHD due to its genetic factor. It is difficult enough to raise kids. But having areas of struggle with ADHD only increases many areas of difficulty and frustration. A woman who has been treated for ADHD and understands herself, will be able to note any signs and symptoms of ADHD and better support and advocate that child.