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Women and Inattention

Managing the many aspects of daily life, from chores to schedules to finances, can be difficult for anyone, let alone for the millions of people living with attention deficit disorders. Additionally, if you are a female living with an attention deficit disorder, these problems may be compounded by the fact that ADHD is not well understood in women. The diagnosis and treatment of women with ADHD lags behind that of men. Females are also more likely to be diagnosed as adults rather than as children, suggesting that a childhood diagnosis is often missed.

The reasons for these gender discrepancies are not 100% clear, however, females with ADHD typically present with symptoms of inattention, rather than exhibiting hyperactivity and impulsivity. These symptoms present as poor concentration and focus, becoming easily bored and distracted, lack of attention to details, poor organizational skills, and slow, day-dreamy type behavior. These more subtle symptoms are often equated to personality characteristics, such as shyness. Females with ADHD can also be good at hiding symptoms and over-compensating for areas of weakness in order to avoid drawing attention to themselves. These factors can lead to a missed diagnosis.

Unfortunately, women with ADHD tend to have more co-existing conditions than men too, such as depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and eating disorders. They often have difficulty managing household chores, which can lead to chronic stress that affects the whole family. Fortunately, the need for more research into females with ADHD has been recognized, with the hope that a greater understanding of this issue will lead to better diagnoses, therapies, and treatments for women who suffer from this disorder.

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