Differences and symptoms of ADHD in women and men

June 18, 2023

ADHD in women with a lower prevalence than men

People with ADHD at different ages
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According to data from the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the prevalence of ADHD in US adults is 4.4%. When broken down by gender, the prevalence rate is 5.4% for men and 3.1% for women, meaning that men have about a 75% higher prevalence of ADHD than women.
Given that ADHD is a neurological disorder that can affect individuals of all ages and genders, the difference in prevalence between men and women is interesting.
According to an analysis of ADHD treatment data from the Korea National Health Service, the number of female patients with ADHD in their 30s increased about sevenfold from 2016 to 2020. this is that the condition is often undiagnosed in childhood, and it is often discovered later in adult while diagnosing depression, anxiety, and other disorders that come along with ADHD.

Why is ADHD in women harder to detect?

Questions from Women with ADHD
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One of the reasons for the difficulty in diagnosis is the focus on the ADHD symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, which are mainly characteristic of boys' ADHD.
Differences in ADHD Symptoms:
ADHD symptoms are different for men and women. Men exhibit the more recognizable symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, etc. women often show more subtle signs related to inner experience and emotional regulation. Co-existing mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, are frequently observed in female ADHD patients.
Diagnostic Limitations:
Diagnostic limitations for women with ADHD arise from criteria primarily based on children and men, leading to limited research on women-specific symptoms. This complexity hinders accurate diagnosis. Current tools fail to fully capture the unique presentation of ADHD symptoms in women, but ongoing research aims to improve diagnostic accuracy and address these limitations.
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