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ADHD diagnosis often missed in women

Men and boys are more likely to be diagnosed, and at a younger age
Posted at 6:10 AM, Sep 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-12 09:10:51-04

Nearly 10 million adults in the U.S. are said to be living with ADHD and experts believe around 75% don't even know it — especially women.

According to the CDC, boys and men are far more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. They're also more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age.

Susan Nwogwugwu, Lead Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner with digital health company Done, says it starts with early assumptions about behavior.

"Boys tend to be a bit more hyperactive which makes it easier for teachers/parents to observe."

She says girls with ADHD tend to display more inattention and are often mislabeled with anxiety.

Then, Nwogwugwu says when we get older, the symptoms change.

Kids with ADHD typically have trouble focusing and sitting still whereas adults struggle more with staying organized forgetfulness, and difficulty multitasking.

Those are easily misread as stress or being tired, so she says there are other signs to watch for.

"We narrow it down to personal relationships. Have friends let you go because you don't respond to messages on time? Do people think you're a little more excited in social settings, more of the party person with more energy?"

She says treatment for adults should be individualized to address the areas where you might be struggling be it for task completion or relationships. She suggests a multifaceted approach with a combo of mental health counseling and sometimes medication.

Her company, Done, has a free online assessment.

As always, consult your own doctor with any concerns and questions.