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We Demand Attention on Sex Differences in ADHD

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Research tells us that women experience distinct and distinctly impairing symptoms of ADHD, which they are more likely to mask and hide due to shame.Though clinical and research bias has historically overemphasized young male presentations of ADHD, Patricia O.

Quinn, M.D., and Manisha Madhoo, M.D., emphasize in a 2014 review that, “several characteristics are unique to the expression of ADHD in women and girls.”1 A review of 41 articles and studies led Quinn and Madhoo to conclude that women are more likely than men to have inattentive ADHD and…These findings were echoed in a 2021 report by Stephen Hinshaw, Ph.D., director of the Berkeley Girls and ADHD Longitudinal Study (BGALS) — the only longitudinal study on females with ADHD conducted to date.2 That report concluded that “Females with ADHD experience, on average, serious impairments, with a particularly heightened risk for problems in close relationships and engagement in self-harm.” He notes that clinicians may overlook symptoms and impairments in females because of less overt — but nonetheless impairing — symptom manifestations that girls and women frequently mask.

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