Women with ADHD: First Step, Catching Early Signs

Is there a significant difference between females and males who have ADHD? Research says, yes and it can certainly last well into adulthood for women as well.

When Kathleen Nadeau was a little girl, she spent so many hours studying that her mother wondered what was wrong. Nadeau was bright. Yet, while other girls were enjoying parties and after-school activities, Nadeau avoided all social events throughout junior high and high school as she struggled to keep up her grades.

It wasn’t until she was an adult that Nadeau, now a psychologist in private practice in Silver Spring, Md., realized she had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). “Only by keeping this hyper-focus on what I was doing could I do well,” Nadeau says. “I knew I couldn’t balance all the distractions the way most people do.”

ADHD is a condition marked by distractibility, difficulty setting priorities and following through, impulsivity, difficulty with social relationships and, in some people, hyperactivity.

For years, it was believed that only boys suffered from ADHD. However, a growing body of research – and a greater awareness on the part of parents and doctors – is finding that ADHD is quite common among girls.

ADHD In Young Girls
Though boys with ADHD still outnumber girls, the gulf is not nearly as large as previously believed, says Stephen Hinshaw, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley.

Some estimates put