How Symptoms Differ In Women
One of the reasons why ADHD frequently goes undiagnosed in women and girls is that their symptoms may present differently from those of men and boys. ADHD comes in three presentations: inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, or a combination of the two.
Men and boys tend to have hyperactive/impulsive ADHD, which may cause them to be fidgety, always on the go, disruptive, restless, talkative, impulsive, impatient, and have mood swings.
On the other hand, women tend to exhibit inattentive ADHD, making it hard to focus, pay attention to details, stay organized, listen, and remember things.
Gender bias may also play a pivotal role in the misdiagnosis and underdiagnosis of ADHD in women and girls. Some of the characteristics of inattentive ADHD, such as being shy or impulsive, are often viewed as personality traits rather than symptoms when they occur in girls and women.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls . However, research suggests that this disparity is not because boys are more susceptible but instead because girls are consistently underdiagnosed.
Studies generally show that while men and women with ADHD are more alike than different, there are a few small differences. During adolescence, girls tend to have fewer coping strategies and worse self-efficacy than boys. Girls and women also have fewer externalizing symptoms such as aggression than men, but higher levels of depression and anxiety.
Symptoms Of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
The symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be categorised into 2 types of behavioural problems:
- hyperactivity and impulsiveness
Many people with ADHD have problems that fall into both these categories, but this is not always the case.
For example, around 2 to 3 in 10 people with the condition have problems with concentrating and focusing, but not with hyperactivity or impulsiveness.
This form of ADHD is also known as attention deficit disorder . ADD can sometimes go unnoticed because the symptoms may be less obvious.
ADHD is more often diagnosed in boys than girls. Girls are more likely to have symptoms of inattentiveness only, and are less likely to show disruptive behaviour that makes ADHD symptoms more obvious. This means girls who have ADHD may not always be diagnosed.
Define The Rules But Allow Some Flexibility
Its important to consistently reward good behaviors and discourage destructive ones, but you shouldnt be too strict with your child. Remember that children with ADHD may not adapt to change as well as others. You must learn to allow your child to make mistakes as they learn. Odd behaviors that arent detrimental to your child or anyone else should be accepted as part of your childs individual personality. Its ultimately harmful to discourage a childs quirky behaviors just because you think they are unusual.
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What Is The Treatment For Adhd
The treatment for ADHD can include medicine and therapy.
Medicine can make it easier to pay attention, slow down, and be more patient. Your doctor can explain more about this to you.
Therapy can help you learn ways to improve your attention, deal with distractions, cope with feelings, and get along better with others. Therapists can help you see the best in yourself and find ways to use your strengths. They can teach you to use mindfulness to improve attention.
Parents can help too. They can learn more about ADHD. They can help you listen better or be more organized. Parents can also give encouragement, love, and support. They can get coached on ways to bring out the best in you.
Teachers can do things to help you do well in class, such as:
- Break schoolwork into parts.
- Help you organize your work.
- Let you sit where they are fewer distractions, like away from a window or door.
- Give you quick breaks to get up and move during class.
You can do things to help yourself, like:
- Eat healthy food.
When Do Adhd Symptoms First Appear
ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorders in children. Symptoms of ADHD can start to appear in early childhoodand can be observed in .
When parents or pediatricians recognize behavioral issues associated with ADHD, the child may be referred for evaluation and psycho-educational testing to confirm or rule out a diagnosis. Evaluation by a qualified clinician ensures that the symptoms are not a result of simple disobedience, defiance, hostility, or rebellion. Nor are they due to an inability to understand instructions or the nature of a task.
For a diagnosis of under age 17, at least six of the nine common symptoms associated with inattention or hyperactivity and impulsivity must be present. In the case of a combined ADHD type diagnosis , the required number of symptoms must occur for both inattention and hyperactivity or impulsivity.
Symptoms must have appeared before the age of 12 and been present for at least six months, based on guidelines set forth in the DSM-5. For those age 17 and older, a diagnosis of ADHD is based on the presence of five of the nine common symptoms associated with one type, or five of the common symptoms from each type in the case of a combined diagnosis.
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When Should I See My Doctor
It is normal for children to get restless and distracted from time to time, and to be active and have lots of energy. But if a child has ADHD, their problems with attention and hyperactivity will be severe enough to interfere with learning and social relationships.
There are many behavioural and developmental disorders that can cause symptoms of ADHD in young children, so it’s important to have a proper assessment. Other reasons for children being inattentive, impulsive or hyperactive are health or emotional problems, learning difficulties or lack of sleep.
If you are concerned that your child may have ADHD, the first step is to see a doctor. The diagnosis can only be made after a detailed assessment of the childs behaviour, including interviews with parents or carers and the school.
Adhd Symptoms At Different Ages
Because we expect very young children to be easily distractible and hyperactive, its the impulsive behaviorsthe dangerous climb, the blurted insultthat often stand out in preschoolers with ADHD. By age four or five, though, most children have learned how to pay attention to others, to sit quietly when instructed to, and not to say everything that pops into their heads. So by the time children reach school age, those with ADHD stand out in all three behaviors: inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
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Adhd With Predominantly Inattentive Presentation1
Individuals meeting diagnostic criteria for this subtype of ADHD present with fewer symptoms of hyperactivity.
Inattentive symptoms typically manifest in some or all of the following ways:
Treatment For Disruptive Behavior Disorders
Starting treatment early is important. Treatment is most effective if it fits the needs of the child and family. The first step to treatment is to have a comprehensive evaluation by a mental health professional. Some of the signs of behavior problems, such as not following rules, are also signs of ADHD, so it is important to get a careful evaluation to see if a child has both conditions. For younger children, the treatment with the strongest evidence is behavioral parent training, where a therapist helps the parent learn effective ways to strengthen the parent-child relationship and respond to the childs behavior. For school-age children and teens, an often-used effective treatment is combination training and therapy that includes the child, the family, and the school. Sometimes medication is part of the treatment.
Many children with ADHD also have a learning disorder . This is in addition to other symptoms of ADHD, such as difficulties paying attention, staying on task, or being organized, which can also keep a child from doing well in school.
Having a learning disorder means that a child has a clear difficulty in one or more areas of learning, even when their intelligence is not affected. Learning disorders include
- Dyslexia difficulty with reading
- Dyscalculia difficulty with math
- Dysgraphia difficulty with writing
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Other Disorders Associated With Adhd
There are a number of other mental health conditions that can co-occur alongside ADHD in adults. These include but are not limited to:
- Eating disorders
The symptoms of ADHD can often leave an adult feeling frustrated, confused, and irritable, which can also lead to other mental health conditions. A commonly linked condition is depression as some symptoms overlap, including restlessness and limited concentration. If someone is struggling with depression and ADHD, this will be picked up in the ADHD assessment and treatment to tackle both conditions can be discussed. If you’re concerned about any other conditions, talk about them with a GP or when at the assessment.
Symptoms And Diagnosis Of Adhd
If you are concerned about whether a child might have ADHD, the first step is to talk with a healthcare provider to find out if the symptoms fit the diagnosis. The diagnosis can be made by a mental health professional, like a psychologist or psychiatrist, or by a primary care provider, like a pediatrician.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that healthcare providers ask parents, teachers, and other adults who care for the child about the childs behavior in different settings, like at home, school, or with peers. Read more about the recommendations.
The healthcare provider should also determine whether the child has another condition that can either explain the symptoms better, or that occurs at the same time as ADHD. Read more about other concerns and conditions.
Why Family Health History is Important if Your Child has Attention and Learning Problems
Youve Been Described As All Over The Place
Are your focus and control a little funky? Is staying on topic during a conversation harrowing? Like the time I was getting my ears pierced and I said to my friend, Will hes my oldest childhood friend, and we grew up near Joshua Tree together! If youve never been, you simply must OK, sorry. Well talk about that another time.
If you cant focus, it can be difficult to achieve your goals, whether its finishing a project youre passionate about or just letting someone else talk during a conversation for, like, a SECOND. Staying on track is hard when your mental health condition gives you a hyperactive mind and too little impulse control.
ADHD can be exhausting. Remember there are tons of exercises, meditative techniques, and medications to get you feeling calibrated correctly. It all starts with recognizing the signs.
Hyperactivity Signs And Symptoms Of Adhd
The most obvious sign of ADHD is hyperactivity. While many children are naturally quite active, kids with hyperactive symptoms of attention deficit disorder are always moving. They may try to do several things at once, bouncing around from one activity to the next. Even when forced to sit still, which can be very difficult for them, their foot is tapping, their leg is shaking, or their fingers are drumming.
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Symptoms Of Inattention In Children
Your child may:
- Have trouble staying focused be easily distracted or get bored with a task before its completed.
- Appear not to listen when spoken to.
- Have difficulty remembering things and following instructions not pay attention to details or makes careless mistakes.
- Have trouble staying organized, planning ahead, and finishing projects.
- Frequently lose or misplace homework, books, toys, or other items.
You Have A Quick Temper
If you fly off the handle in a fit of anger or frustration one moment but quickly move on, it might be a sign of ADHD.
Because this type of irritability can also be a symptom of bipolar disorder, some people with ADHD can be misdiagnosed, said Dr. Wetzel. It’s important to get a thorough evaluation and diagnosis.
Children with ADHD often get mislabeled as “bad,” “naughty,” “disruptive,” or “aggressive,” but a study published in August 2016 in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavicacorrelated these types of behavior to childhood ADHD.
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You’re A Thrill Seeker
People with ADHD are often drawn to activities that are stimulating. They may engage in risky behaviors, like fast driving, gambling, and even extramarital affairs.
A study published in September 2013 in PLoS One found that children and adolescents with ADHD showed a stronger risk for increased risky behaviors like gambling than adults with ADHD however, this could, researchers theorized, lead to developmental changes “in reward and/or penalty sensitivity” that could manifest in adulthood.
“The key is to channel that desire for excitement and novelty into activities that don’t jeopardize your work and family life,” said de Marneffe. Parasailing or other high-adventure activities may be good alternative outlets.
Impulsive Signs And Symptoms Of Adhd
The impulsivity of children with ADHD can cause problems with self-control. Because they censor themselves less than other kids do, theyll interrupt conversations, invade other peoples space, ask irrelevant questions in class, make tactless observations, and ask overly personal questions. Instructions like, Be patient and Just wait a little while are twice as hard for children with ADHD to follow as they are for other youngsters.
Children with impulsive signs and symptoms of ADHD also tend to be moody and to overreact emotionally. As a result, others may start to view the child as disrespectful, weird, or needy.
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Risk Factors For Adhd In Children
ADHD isnt caused by bad parenting or something you did while pregnant. In fact, most experts believe its caused by factors that are out of your control, such as genetics.
Nevertheless, there are some risk factors that may make a toddler more likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis down the road:
- Having a birthing parent of advanced age
- Having a birthing parent with fewer years of education
- Having a family member with ADHD
- Experiencing language and motor delays between 3 months and 18 months of age
- Being born with a difficult temperament
Related Conditions In Adults With Adhd
As with ADHD in children and teenagers, ADHD in adults can occur alongside several related problems or conditions.
One of the most common is depression. Other conditions that adults may have alongside ADHD include:
- personality disorders conditions in which an individual differs significantly from the average person in terms of how they think, perceive, feel or relate to others
- bipolar disorder a condition affecting your mood, which can swing from one extreme to another
- obsessive compulsive disorder a condition that causes obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour
The behavioural problems associated with ADHD can also cause problems such as difficulties with relationships and social interaction.
Page last reviewed: 24 December 2021 Next review due: 24 December 2024
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Treatment For Adhd In Women
Effective treatment for ADHD in women often involves several different approaches. Recommended treatments depend on various factors, including the nature, severity, and impact of ADHD symptoms.
ADHD treatments may include medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and accommodations in school, work, and home.
It is essential to start by getting an accurate diagnosis to find the appropriate treatment. ADHD is often missed well into adulthood, so getting a diagnosis can be an important step toward understanding things about yourself that you might have previously chalked up to other causes.
Once you know that you have ADHD, you can feel more empowered to take steps to get help and make changes in your life that will help you to better manage the symptoms of the condition. It can also help you better appreciate some of your strengths, such as high energy levels and creativity, that you can leverage when coping with the challenges you face.
Adhd Diagnosis In Adults
To reach an ADHD diagnosis in an adult, a mental health professional will look for:
- five or more symptoms of inattention and/or five or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity for more than 6 months
- symptoms present before age 12
- symptoms present in more than two settings
- symptoms that interfere with or reduce the quality of social, academic, or work functioning
- symptoms that cannot be explained by other mental health conditions or substance use
A diagnosis of adult ADHD involves a comprehensive evaluation, including a medical exam and review of current and past symptoms.
Mental health professionals diagnose adult ADHD using the same diagnostic criteria as childhood ADHD. However, the same symptoms may look quite different in an adult.
Symptoms will also vary depending on dominant ADHD type.
Treatment For Adhd At Priory
Treatment for adult ADHD can include medication and counselling. The treatment that people receive will be based on their own circumstances, to make sure that it is as effective as possible.
A specialist will discuss the medications with you, explain how they work and tell you about adverse effects. They will also explain all treatment options, which can include ADHD coaching and cognitive behavioural therapy, so that you are able to choose the best for you.
At Priory, our therapy gives people the opportunity with develop skills related to organisation, time-management and problem solving. It also helps with the management of impulsive behaviours and anger, while boosting self-esteem and improving relationships with family, friends and co-workers.
Couples and family therapy sessions can also be provided at Priory to help those living with someone who has ADHD.
Get in Touch Today
For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding mental health and wellbeing, please call 0800 840 3219 or . For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here