In this blog post I will be discussing something that hits very close to home with me when it comes to gendered and sexualized healthcare. This topic is ADHD and ADD diagnosis in women and girls. This past summer at the age of 19 I was diagnosed with ADHD after years of silently struggling. I was an extremely good child and teenager and my parents really never had any trouble with me. I had great grades and I was even in the talented and gifted program all throughout primary and elementary school. While on the outside my life seemed perfectly fine the picture was not as perfect as it seemed.
At the beginning of last summer I started seeing videos put online, specifically on tiktok, of women detailing their experiences with ADHD and their late diagnosis. All of the symptoms that these women were describing I also struggled with and my whole life I had been sweeping them under the rug. Some of these symptoms include constantly fidgeting, for me this manifested itself in me always shaking my leg, and also never being able to get stuff done during the day if I know that I have something to do later on such as go to work.
According to ADDitudemag.com, “The same study found that boys are more likely to have ever been diagnosed with ADHD than were girls (12.9 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively).”. This is extremely upsetting to hear, but it is most likely because ADHD and ADD symptoms in young boys present themselves way differently than ADHD and ADD symptoms in young girls. Young boys tend to have severe attention issues and their grades slip and they also act out. While young girls symptoms tend to manifest in ways that are more similar to anxiety symptoms. “Research, however, suggests that ADHD affects a greater number of girls than typically and traditionally reported. ADHD may be missed in girls because of the way their symptoms tend to manifest compared to boys’, which may reflect a general bias in the diagnostic process.” (ADDitudemag.com).
So how can we help change the stigmas behind diagnosing young girls and women with ADHD? We can start by talking about it more, I know for a fact that I am not the only young woman who has experienced this and I now openly talk about it with my friends and family. Since being diagnosed I have even struggled to get the proper medications and help due to a “lack of urgency” because in the eyes of our society women and girls who have been diagnosed with ADHD do not need to be treated immediately since their struggles are not as easy to be seen as the struggles that young men and boys have with this diagnosis. So educate yourself, speak up and break the stigma.