ADHD has become a bit of a “TikTok trend,” but there may be a reason that this is happening right now. ADHD is often missed in women’s early lives and does not get diagnosed until much later in correlation with men’s diagnoses.
Many of the symptoms of ADHD are often overlooked in women, for a variety of reasons. Women who suffer from ADHD in early life often have their symptoms overlooked as misbehaving.
“I was just written off as a noisy kid and got in trouble for it all the time,” said Sydney Petitt, a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who was diagnosed with ADHD her freshman year of college.
Due to the nature of ADHD, if something interests someone, they will be able to focus on that. When adults notice success in certain areas and failure in others in a child's life, the child is often labeled as lazy.
“I wasn’t super hyper active as a kid,” said Abby Rick, a junior at Creighton, who was diagnosed with ADHD her sophomore year of college. “I was in all the advanced reading groups but physically could not pay attention during anything math or science which my teachers usually wrote off as disinterest or being lazy.”
But there are multiple types of ADHD, three to be specific. Most commonly diagnosed is impulsive/hyperactive type ADHD. There is also inattentive and distractible type ADHD, and combined type.
Women are more likely to be diagnosed with inattentive and distractible type ADHD, which is harder to recognize and diagnose. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Boys are two to three times more likely to have ADHD of the hyperactive or combined type than girls.”
Inattentive and distractible type ADHD comes with symptoms such as not being able to focus, becoming easily distracted and not being able to give full focus when listening to people speak. These symptoms are often written off in girls as being lazy, not caring and being a stereotypical girl interested in only clothes and shopping.
Other than medication, there are little to no resources available to women with ADHD. Their symptoms often do not have many strategies to help.
“It’s still super cloudy on treatment and stuff,” said Petitt. “Little to no resources.”