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“Women with ADHD Are Caught In an Endless Cycle”

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The following is a personal essay reflecting the opinions of the authors.May 5, 2024Every ADHD expert that we know believes that girls and women with ADHD are underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed.In 1994, a meeting of ADHD experts was convened at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to make recommendations about ways to better meet the needs of girls.

This committee strongly recommended the creation of diagnostic criteria designed to better identify girls with ADHD. More than a generation later, this recommendation remains largely ignored, despite the clear and compelling need for such a change.It is well documented that untreated ADHD in women leads to potentially disastrous consequences starting in adolescence with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and unplanned pregnancies followed by academic failure, psychiatric hospitalization, and suicide.

Women with ADHD are more likely to face divorce, to become single parents who raise challenging children with ADHD, to experience domestic violence, and to struggle with income insufficiency — which, in combination, trigger the destructive spiral of intergenerational ADHD challenges.[Read: Wanted — ADHD Research on Women & Girls]Better identification and treatment of women will have a positive cascading effect, benefitting women by increasing self-esteem, improving employment, and building stronger parenting skills that, in turn, benefit their children.Today, as APSARD (The American Professional Society for Attention and Related Disorders) is undertaking worthy effort to develop the first U.S.

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