The ADHD rate in women may be significantly higher than the commonly reported 4.4% prevalence of adult ADHD for men and women. Epidemiological studies of children find rates of 9% to 19%. Studies of adults who were ADHD as children find 4% to 60% continue to have ADHD symptoms into adulthood. Studies comparing male to female ratios show over representation of males. The ratios range from 3:2 to 12:1. However, the symptoms of ADHD in women may be grossly underestimated because hyperactivity is much more often present in males. Hyperactivity with accompanying aggression, violence, and conduct disorders make male ADHD much more likely to be diagnosed. Additionally, adults who may have outgrown some of their childhood ADHD symptoms are frequently impaired by the residual symptoms though they may no longer meet full ADHD diagnosis criteria. A much higher number of women with ADHD may be true if we multiply 19% times 60% times 1:1 ratio. This would result in an adult ADHD prevalence in women of 12%.
Women are increasingly seeking medical treatment for adult ADHD. From 2000 to 2005 women increased their use of medicine by 11% per year. This rate of increase for getting help with ADHD symptoms was faster than the increase in children and in men. About 1% of all women are now taking medication for adult ADHD in this country. Since about 4% of adults have ADHD, this means that only about 25% of the women with adult ADHD are getting help for their ADHD symptoms.
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