Unveiling ADHD in Women: A Comprehensive Exploration

Jay Getten | Dec 28, 2023 | 7 min read


Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition often associated with children, particularly boys. However, this narrative overlooks a significant and vulnerable group: women. ADHD in women is frequently underdiagnosed, leading to a myriad of challenges that go unrecognized and untreated. This blog aims to shed light on the unique ways ADHD manifests in women, its impacts, and the importance of appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Understanding ADHD in Women

ADHD in women often presents differently than in men. Women are more likely to experience inattentive ADHD, characterized by difficulties in focusing, paying attention to details, and staying organized. These symptoms can be internalized, leading to secondary issues like anxiety or depression. Hormonal fluctuations also play a crucial role in ADHD symptoms in women. Estrogen, a key hormone, modulates neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which are vital for cognitive functioning and mood regulation. As women go through different life stages, such as perimenopause and menopause, these hormonal changes can significantly impact their ADHD symptoms.

Diagnosis Challenges

Diagnosing ADHD in women is fraught with challenges. Gender biases and societal expectations often lead to misdiagnosis or underdiagnosis. Women's symptoms are frequently mistaken for personality quirks or mood disorders. Additionally, the absence of a definitive laboratory test for ADHD means that diagnoses are made through behavioral, developmental, and medical analysis, further complicating the process.

Impact on Daily Life

The impact of undiagnosed or untreated ADHD in women is profound. It can affect personal relationships, where impulsivity and inattentiveness lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. Professionally, women with ADHD may struggle with organizational tasks and time management, impacting their job performance and career progression. Furthermore, untreated ADHD poses risks such as increased likelihood of substance abuse, low self-esteem, job instability, and strained parent-child relationships.

Management and Treatment Strategies

Effective management of ADHD in women requires tailored interventions. These might include routine establishment, stress management, and sensory regulation. Hormone replacement therapy can be particularly beneficial during menopause, addressing the cognitive changes and mood fluctuations associated with estrogen loss. Non-pharmacological approaches like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness practices, and lifestyle changes are also crucial in managing ADHD symptoms.


Recognizing, diagnosing, and appropriately treating ADHD in women is not just a health imperative but a step towards gender equity in healthcare. As we continue to unravel the complexities of ADHD in women, it becomes increasingly clear that a one-size-fits-all approach to diagnosis and treatment is inadequate. By tailoring our understanding and responses to the unique experiences of women with ADHD, we can ensure they receive the support and care they deserve.


"ADHD in Women - Why is it so undiagnosed?" Psychologies. Link

"Why Many Women With ADHD Remain Undiagnosed." Verywell Mind. Link

"Females with ADHD: An expert consensus statement taking a lifespan approach." BMC Psychiatry. Link

"ADHD Symptoms in Girls: Symptoms of ADHD in Girls." Verywell Mind. Link

"Tailored intervention for women with ADHD." European Network Adult ADHD Link

"Comparable emotional dynamics in women with ADHD and borderline personality disorder." Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation. BioMed Central. Link

The Complete Picture: How Estrogen Affects Women with ADHD." CHADD. Link

"Menopause, Hormones, and ADHD Symptoms in Women: An Overview." ADDitude Magazine. Link

"Perimenopause Problems: How Changing Hormones Exacerbate ADHD Symptoms." ADDitude Magazine Link

"5 Critical Risks of Untreated ADHD: Why Is It So Common?" EZCare Clinic. Link

Annotated Bibliography

  • Psychologies - "ADHD in Women - Why is it so undiagnosed?"
    • Summary: This article discusses the underdiagnosis of ADHD in women, highlighting how societal expectations and gender biases contribute to this issue. It emphasizes that ADHD often presents differently in women, typically as inattentive ADHD, which is less disruptive and therefore often goes unnoticed.
    • Key Points: Differences in ADHD symptoms between genders, societal influences on diagnosis, and the impact of underdiagnosis on women's lives
  • Verywell Mind - "Why Many Women With ADHD Remain Undiagnosed"
    • Summary: The article explores the reasons behind the frequent misdiagnosis or late diagnosis of ADHD in women. It points out that symptoms in women are often internalized, leading to secondary issues like anxiety or depression.
    • Key Points: Gender bias in ADHD diagnosis, internalized symptoms in women, and the psychological impact of undiagnosed ADHD.
  • BMC Psychiatry - "Females with ADHD: An expert consensus statement taking a lifespan approach"
    • Summary: This scholarly article provides a comprehensive view of ADHD in females, suggesting a lifespan model of care. It discusses the different symptom profiles, comorbidities, and functioning in females compared to males.
    • Key Points: Lifespan approach to ADHD care in females, differences in symptom profiles and comorbidities, and the need for tailored treatment approaches.
  • Verywell Mind - "ADHD in Girls: Symptoms of ADHD in Girls"
    • Summary: This article focuses on how ADHD symptoms manifest in girls, noting that they often differ from those seen in boys. It highlights specific signs that may indicate ADHD in girls, such as being withdrawn, crying easily, and daydreaming.
    • Key Points: Specific ADHD symptoms in girls, challenges in diagnosing ADHD in girls, and the importance of early recognition.
  • European Network Adult ADHD - "Tailored intervention for women with ADHD"
    • Summary: Discusses the effectiveness of a tailored, occupation-based intervention for women with ADHD. The study showed significant improvements in reducing perceived stress and ADHD symptoms.
    • Key Points: The success of tailored interventions, the importance of addressing routine establishment and sensory regulation, and the potential for nonpharmacological treatment options.
  • BioMed Central - "Comparable emotional dynamics in women with ADHD and borderline personality disorder"
    • Summary: This article examines the similarities in emotional dysregulation between women with ADHD and those with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It suggests that emotional dysregulation is a trans-diagnostic issue in both conditions.
    • Key Points: Overlap of emotional symptoms in ADHD and BPD, challenges in differentiating the two disorders, and the importance of considering emotional dysregulation in clinical practice.
  • CHADD - "The Complete Picture: How Estrogen Affects Women with ADHD"
    • Summary: Explores how estrogen and hormonal fluctuations impact ADHD symptoms in women. It discusses the changes in estrogen levels during different life stages, such as puberty, menstrual cycles, and menopause, and their effects on ADHD.
    • Key Points: The role of estrogen in modulating ADHD symptoms, the impact of hormonal changes during menopause, and the need for hormone-informed treatment approaches.
  • ADDitude Magazine - "Menopause, Hormones, and ADHD Symptoms in Women: An Overview"
    • Summary: This article provides an overview of how menopause and hormonal changes affect women with ADHD. It discusses the lack of specific research on menopause in women with ADHD and potential treatments.
    • Key Points: Cognitive changes during menopause, overlap of menopause symptoms with ADHD, and potential pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions.
  • ADDitude Magazine - "Perimenopause Problems: How Changing Hormones Exacerbate ADHD Symptoms"
    • Summary: Focuses on the challenges women with ADHD may face during perimenopause due to changing hormone levels. It offers practical advice for managing these challenges in the workplace.
    • Key Points: The exacerbation of ADHD symptoms during perimenopause, practical strategies for coping with hormonal changes, and workplace management tips.
  • EZCare Clinic - "5 Critical Risks of Untreated ADHD: Why Is It So Common?"
    • Summary: Discusses the risks associated with untreated ADHD and why it often goes undiagnosed. It highlights the critical risks such as complicated personal relationships, substance abuse, and job instability.
    • Key Points: Commonality of untreated ADHD, risks associated with untreated ADHD, and the importance of proper diagnosis and treatment.

©2024 Behavioral Health Consulting Solutions

All rights reserved