Common misconceptions surrounding ADD lead many to believe that it is a male disorder – however, this could not be farther from the truth. The truth is that just as many women suffer from this specific psychological disorder, and they have been proven to undergo significantly more psychological distress than men as a direct result. For whatever reason, Attention Deficit Disorder has been characterized as a male disease by the general population and by members of the medical community alike. Because of this widespread and erroneous belief, many women are either left undiagnosed or are entirely misdiagnosed, never receiving the treatment they truly need.
Women and ADD
Women are most frequently diagnosed with emotionally-relevant psychological disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. If a female approaches a medical professional with a host of emotional symptoms, she may be misdiagnosed, or the underlying ADD might be overlooked entirely. Left untreated, this specific disorder is likely to lead to a host of other related issues further down the line. Why is misdiagnosis so common? There are several reasons, a few of the most common listed below:
- Teacher diagnoses.
In a surprising amount of cases, teachers are the first to diagnose children with ADD or ADHD. Because of the misconception that ADD is a male disorder, many more adolescent boys get diagnosed than do girls. The truth of the matter is, boys simply tend to be more hyperactive and excitable during early adolescence.
2. Women and ‘people pleasing’.
Women tend to feel a great amount of personal responsibility towards their families and careers, preventing them from seeking help for disorders they may feel they can keep under control. We at Willow place teach women to listen to their bodies and their minds, prioritizing themselves and their own well-being over all else.
3. Overprescribing – the ‘quick fix’.
Doctors are quick to hand out anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications- in fact, the overprescribing of these specific medications has become a major issue. We take the time necessary to diagnose all of our clients properly.
4. Substance dependency issues.
It is difficult to properly diagnose disorders when an individual is actively using chemical substances. In many instances, symptoms of drug abuse will overshadow symptoms of potential psychological disorders, making them difficult to recognize.
5. Pressure to perform.
Women tend to feel a lot of pressure when it comes to performing well in front of their peers, colleagues, and superiors. This pressure to do well and ‘be the best’ may prevent women from seeking the help they need.
Treating Attention Deficit Disorder in Women
While it is difficult to diagnose women who are active in their addictions with any psychological disorder, we at Willow Place for Women have become extremely familiar with the importance of diagnosing and treating all underlying issues simultaneously. We have licensed and highly experienced psychiatrists and psychologists on-staff, all whom are familiar with the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder and how they present themselves in female addicts and alcoholics. All too frequently are women misdiagnosed – we take the time necessary to properly address all contributing factors, allowing women to heal thoroughly and permanently.