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ADHD – Not a ‘Naughty Boy’ disorder

group of female friends walk arm in arm down street.

For so long ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) was seen as the ‘naughty boy’ disorder. Awareness was greatly focused on the ‘hyperactive/impulsive’ symptoms, as generally, the behaviours were much more obvious. However, with an increasing awareness of symptoms and presentations, we now know that children previously labelled as daydreamers or lazy could very well have ADHD. It also explains why there is an upsurge in the diagnosis of women and ADHD.

So what exactly is ADHD?

ADHD is a mental health condition. Individuals with ADHD show repeated patterns of behaviour that interfere with their everyday lives. It presents in three ways:

  • Hyperactive/Impulsive – click for symptoms
  • Inattentive – click for symptoms
  • Combined – click for symptoms

Causes and Treatments

Now we understand ADHD more fully, it is clear to understand why the NHS reported that individuals who have a diagnosis of ADHD have significantly increased. Moreover, there is no one cause of ADHD. But more that it is generally a complex mixture of environmental and genetic factors. In fact, it is felt that the probability is roughly 70-80% from genetic factors.

Treatment for ADHD is dependent on the individual and their personal circumstances. Options such as medication and psychological therapies (CBT, Behavioural therapy) can be advised by doctors. Whilst reasonable adjustments can be made in school and the workplace to aid those with ADHD. As well as this, individuals and parents can also help develop ADHD strategies to help with day to day functioning.

Women and ADHD

So why are so many women being diagnosed later in life? Interestingly, the official gender split sits at 4:1 boys: girls, it is clear this is outdated. For quite some time girls were simply not being diagnosed. Exceedingly good at masking their symptoms, or simply being written off as daydreamers. Therefore we are now seeing women in their 20’s and 30’s (even ’40s) being diagnosed for the first time. Mums with children who are diagnosed, suddenly recognise symptoms in themselves. It is now thought that the gender split could be nearer 2:1 in children. Furthermore, it is levelling out to a roughly even split between adults.

Could I have ADHD?

So do you think you could have ADHD? I see a lot of posts and comments on social media regarding having ‘traits’ and being ‘slightly’ ADHD. ADHD can only be diagnosed by a medical professional and is not something to be taken lightly. Likely, reading the symptoms above, we may all at some time have experienced these. However, the difference being is that ADHD means that these symptoms are persistent, affecting an individual’s everyday life, functions and development.

If you do feel that this may be you, there is plenty of support and information out there to read:

ADHD Fact Sheets & Infographics – CHADD

Symptoms of ADHD in Women and Girls – CHADD

About ADHD | ADHD UK

Adult ADHD Screening Survey | ADHD UK

The lost girls: ‘Chaotic and curious, women with ADHD all have missed red flags that haunt us’ | Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder | The Guardian

and lots of great accounts to follow on social media! Let me know what platform you are on and I’ll hook you up!

Fay x

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women and adhd - hyperactive & impulsive