How Do Men and Women Experience ADHD Differently?
ADD, and ADHD are often used interchangeably. Beyond that, men and women do not necessarily exhibit the same symptoms. This means that sometimes, women who may have these disorders can go undiagnosed. Let’s take a deeper dive into the issue.
What’s the Difference?
First, let’s examine their definitions. ADHD is defined as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder with three main symptoms. These are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Most people experience all three, with an emphasis on inattention. ADD stands for attention-deficit disorder. This term, however, is dated.
These days, ADHD is the formal diagnosis, as ADD is an outdated term that is generally used to refer to an inattentive type of ADHD. People with the inattentive type of ADHD are generally not impulsive or hyperactive. Hyperactive-impulsive ADHD presents differently from the inattentive type of ADHD, and is generally what most people think of when they hear ‘ADHD.’ It is also possible to have a Combined Type of ADHD. To receive the combined-type diagnosis, one must have six or more symptoms of inattention and six or more symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Males VS Females
As mentioned, men are diagnosed with ADHD more often than women. Mainly, school-aged boys have most traditionally been diagnosed with ADHD. This remains the case today. One reason is men often present hyperactivity and impulsivity, the more stereotypical signs of ADHD. Boys with ADHD may act out and disrupt class in a school setting, catching the attention of more people. Women, on the other hand, may present as more squirmy or “daydreamy.” They are also more likely to be viewed as overly sensitive. Because of this, boys are three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls. As many as 75% of girls go undiagnosed. Women are likely to receive their diagnosis as adults. Most often, men with ADHD will have issues at work, while women are more likely to struggle in non-work settings. While symptoms in males may appear more overtly, it doesn’t mean women’s struggles with ADHD are any less severe or valid.
The times are changing, which means more emphasis and resources have been devoted towards research in mental health. We now know that ADHD can present alongside a number of other psychiatric symptoms and diseases. The data show that people suffering from ADHD are also more likely to suffer from conditions including eating disorders, depressive disorders, and anxiety disorders. This is why it’s so important to seek care from a qualified mental health clinician who can complete a comprehensive assessment.
At SOL Mental Health, we love that we can be a part of the change. We offer psychological testing, among a wide range of services, to ensure that people receive the proper treatment and help they need. If you are struggling with your attention span or hyperactivity, reach out to us to schedule an appointment. We are happy to help you discover the best road to peace.