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ADHD in Women & Girls

ADHD is underdiagnosed in women and girls due to limitations in awareness of how the condition presents in females versus males. Minnesota Neuropsychology, LLC is here to bring clarity to the lived experiences of women and girls with ADHD, and to provide diagnostic assessments based on the most up-to-date clinical research.

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ADHD Can Affect Emotional & Physical Health

Women and girls with ADHD struggle with things like organization, focus, time management, and planning. They can also experience impulsive behaviors, feelings, and thoughts.

The constellation of these symptoms can result in difficulties in school, home, social, and work environments. They affect emotional and physical health, as well as relationships and finances.

Without proper recognition of a pattern of symptoms, girls and women who struggle with ADHD in silence can start to experience self-limiting beliefs and learned helplessness. Thoughts like, “I’m not smart,” or, “I’m not good enough,” can start to pop up.

It’s More Than a School Issue

When we hear the term “ADHD” we often think of it as a school issue. It is much more than that. ADHD affects all areas of life, including social functioning, emotional health, physical health, sleep, career, and finances.

Minnesota Neuropsychology, LLC is here to help bring clarity to the experiences of ADHD in women and girls, to provide careful diagnosis, and to help them see the superpowers that come along with their symptoms.

Shift away from ‘I’m incapable’ and toward ‘I’ve got a unique approach and I will grow through this.

Dr. Elizabeth Adams, PhD, LP, ABPP-CN

What Is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition that has its origins before birth and affects behavioral, emotional, and cognitive functioning. In most cases, ADHD stems from one or a combination of genetics, prenatal factors, birth conditions, and early environmental factors.

ADHD brains are different, in both structure and chemistry. To an outside observer, ADHD symptoms can appear to be intentional, but in truth, there is a biological difference underlying the pattern of struggles in girls and women with ADHD.

ADHD is a condition that includes two main categories of symptoms: a) problems with focus and b) problems with impulsivity. People with ADHD do not have a deficit of attention. Rather, they have problems allocating, sustaining, and regulating their attention toward a specific task or topic.

It used to be thought that people with ADHD had to be “hyperactive.” This is not true. Not all people with ADHD have the hyperactivity piece. In fact, most girls and women do not. Because the problems with focus are more difficult to see from the outside, girls and women with ADHD often struggle in silence.

Symptoms of ADHD for Girls & Women

ADHD persists through the lifespan and does not go away after childhood. Girls and women with ADHD may experience symptoms such as:

  • Difficulty maintaining focus
  • Disorganization
  • Lack of motivation
  • Tardiness
  • Interrupting
  • Talking too much
  • Saying things she later regrets
  • Difficulty regulating emotions

Girls and women with ADHD may struggle with making impulsive decisions, finding the motivation for future goals, having trouble keeping up with deadlines, or having strong emotional responses and struggling to filter them in the moment.

ADHD Is Often Missed in Girls and Women

ADHD is often missed in girls and women. Girls are significantly less likely than boys to be referred for ADHD evaluation and less likely than boys to be diagnosed with ADHD. This is due to a variety of factors.

Common symptoms used to diagnose ADHD may be less noticeable in girls and women. There remains a cultural gender-based bias to assume that problems in girls and women are related to mood. Finally, many girls and women tend to mask their symptoms and it can take longer to recognize they are struggling.

Girls With ADHD Become Women With ADHD

Girls with ADHD grow up to be women with ADHD. The symptoms do not disappear after she turns 18. The difficulties she experienced throughout school will carry over into career, family, finances, and physical health in adulthood.

It used to be believed that ADHD was a childhood condition. After 3 decades of clinical research, the science shows that ADHD persists into adulthood. The symptoms do not go away.

There is a generation of adults who are just now becoming aware of their ADHD symptoms due to a persistent lack of public awareness despite many years of scientific research describing ADHD in adults. After many years of struggling silently, girls and women with undiagnosed ADHD can develop a pattern of shame and self-limiting beliefs.

Minnesota Neuropyschology’s Approach to ADHD

If you suspect you or your daughter may have ADHD, you can rest assured that support and interventions are available for you. At Minnesota Neuropsychology, LLC, we provide careful, thorough, and efficient ADHD evaluations for children and adults.

An ADHD evaluation consists of a thorough review of concerns, analysis of data from standardized behavioral questionnaires, and a cognitive assessment.

The team at Minnesota Neuropsychology, LLC is passionate about providing an accurate diagnosis, clarity, and a path forward for women and girls with ADHD. We listen carefully to your concerns and help to see patterns that lead to a clarifying diagnosis. We provide tailored recommendations to point you in a direction of empowerment.

Reach Out Today to Learn More

Do you think you may have ADHD? We’re here to help you by providing clarity and direction. To learn more about ADHD testing or to schedule an appointment with us, give us a call at 651-964-2020 or send us a message.