This diagnosis gap is predominantly due to the misconception that ADHD affects men more, but also because women’s symptoms of the condition are often overlooked. Women’s symptoms are additionally less spoken about, and in turn, fewer women are diagnosed and are not getting the help they need. Clinical Partners claim that between 50 to 75% of women with ADHD go undiagnosed by professionals. This is why it’s incredibly important to raise awareness around ADHD so women can be made aware of the symptoms and signs of this condition.
The good news is that over recent years, there has been an increase in recognition of ADHD in women, alongside more diagnoses. Clinical Partners found that in 2019, around 7,700 women took an online ADHD test. In 2021, that figure surged to around 254,400. Dr Anup Mathew M.D., MA, MSc, BSc (Hons), MRCPsych, FHEADCP, MDCH, DCBH, PGCDM, PGCCE, MAcadMEd, our lead psychiatrist here at Cantourage Clinic, recently shared his expert knowledge on this with Woman and Home, detailing the way in which ADHD affects women specifically, and we wanted to share his expertise.
Dr Anup is a Consultant Psychiatrist with extensive experience in medical education, mental health law and over three years of experience prescribing CBPMs.(Cannabis-Based Products for Medicinal Use) and is a consultant doctor at Cantourage Medical Cannabis Clinic. Dr Mathew specialises in: Depression, PTSD, EUPD, Anxiety, Insomnia, ADHD, ADD, OCD and Agoraphobia
ADHD stands for Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD is common among both adults and children and relates to the difficulty in maintaining focus which can affect learning.
The general symptoms of ADHD are hyperactivity, impulsivity, distractability and excitability. What we have seemed to notice in adults and women is that it manifests and presents as mainly anxiety and difficulty maintaining focus and presence on tasks. With women, in particular, it can often present as irritability.
The comorbidities often associated with ADHD in women are failing to achieve potential, this can often lead to depressive feelings and mood.
In my personal opinion, this comorbidity appears in women more than men, because women find the aspect of failing to achieve potential more frustrating. Women tend to ruminate on past events and what they could have achieved, which can lead to more anxiety and depression.
The neurotransmitter dopamine is seen to be at low levels with people with ADHD. Stimulant medication or natural stimulants such as caffeine increase dopamine levels. Also, pleasurable activities such as exercising can raise dopamine. Therefore, people with ADHD seek stimulation that can increase dopamine more quickly and intensely.
The first treatment option for ADHD is always stimulant medication. This works extremely well however, the majority of stimulant medications have negative side effects such as poor sleep and poor appetite.
The second line of treatment is talking therapies. This is not as effective as traditional medicine. However treatments like CBT (Cognitive Behavioural therapy) help with learning to break the cycle of behaviour that causes those with ADHD to struggle with focusing.
Medical cannabis is a really useful adjunct to traditional medication for ADHD, it counteracts any side effects caused by stimulant medication. Medical cannabis helps exceptionally well with anxiety, improving appetite and improving sleep. Therefore, medical cannabis works well synergistically with traditional ADHD treatments. Medical cannabis alone has also been shown to reduce symptoms of ADHD by improving focus and attention without causing any of the side affects seen with stimulant medications.
To find out more about medical cannabis and ADHD click here
There is a lot more exposure on the topic of ADHD, women’s symptoms are being spoken about more, which is allowing other women to recognise symptoms of ADHD. There is also a genetic component to ADHD, so those with children who have been diagnosed are beginning to recognise the same symptoms within themselves indirectly through their children. In turn, encouraging women to address their indications.
We hope this article contributes to an increased discussion and awareness of ADHD and the gender differences, helping more females to receive the support they may need. Read the full Woman and Home article here.
If you’d like to find out more about how medical cannabis can help ADHD, please feel free to get in touch with our expert team.
If you would like to become a patient at Cantourage Clinic, please visit our homepage and click on BOOK A CONSULTATION, your details will be saved on our waiting list and we will contact you as soon as we can welcome you into the Cantourage community.
About Cantourage Clinic Ltd
Cantourage Clinic is a CQC registered clinic, combining a team of qualified specialist physicians, nurses and educators with cannabis industry professionals; joining forces with the sole focus of providing care and excellence for patients wishing to explore cannabinoid therapies.
For more information on how Cantourage clinic could help, click here for more information.
Cantourage Clinic offer specialist consultations for the following conditions.