CIP School in the Phils.

Women are the attention deficit disorder

on June 17, 2013

alvin in

DON’T be surprised if it turns into a big new feminist cause all over the world: the plight of women who say they have trouble focusing their attention—and can’t get anybody’s else’s attention for long enough to deal with their problem.

One believer in the cause is Sari Solden, an American writer on (and sufferer from) attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a term familiar to parents in the English-speaking world, whereADHD (or sometimes just ADD) has been diagnosed in millions of children who cannot stay still, or cannot concentrate for long, or cannot do either. America’s market in ADHD drugs—mostly one called Ritalin—is worth over $3 billion a year, and kids account for most of it. But Ms Solden sees a “hidden epidemic” among adult females.

With the children’s version of the disorder, much debate is sparked by sceptics who say it is diagnosed too often. Some say doctors are too quick to offer chemical solutions for youngsters who might once have been called boisterous or high-spirited. A middle view—held by Sam Goldstein, a leading American pundit—is that the disorder exists, but that people under stress (including mothers going out to work) may be too quick to say they have it.

With respect to adult women, Ms Solden argues the opposite: millions of silent sufferers need help but cannot get any. She cites the response to her book, “Women with Attention Deficit Disorder”—whose title is snappier in Japanese (literally, “Women Who Can’t Put Things in Order”) or German (“Princess of Chaos”). She reports strong interest in the Middle East and China, and across Europe.

Support clubs for female sufferers have emerged all over the world; in Australia, there is an e-community of afflicted souls called ADDventurous Women. Even in countries where the syndrome is recognised among children, it is hard for women to be treated for ADHD. In Britain, where children take Ritalin at almost American rates, two National Health Service (NHS) clinics struggle to cope with a growing queue of stricken grown-ups. Caroline Knight, a British sufferer who has battled to get help for ADHD, says it has blighted her life and job prospects. Drugs helped: “I could stand in a queue without getting impatient and watch the news without getting distracted.” But many NHS doctors will not give adults Ritalin.

Judie Gade, head of the Australian group, says its members find it all but impossible to obtain ADHD drugs; many doctors, not believing in a specific disorder, simply offer anti-depressants. Irish Catholic women face scepticism from priests, says Dianne Zaccheo, anADHD therapist. In Hong Kong, says Jadis Blurton, a psychologist, the number of women coming forward, especially expatriates, has grown in the past five years but they have a battle getting local doctors to treat them.

Nor is the whole thing just rich-world hypochondria, says Paulo Mattos, who runs an ADHDstudy group at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. The proportion of Brazilian children with signs of the disorder, using an American definition, is about 5%—comparable with the United States. Among adults, he says, it is between 1.5% and 3.5%. While women suffer as much as men, they are treated less. Mr Mattos suspects a “gender gap” at work: Brazilian women are less likely to do hard jobs so their problems go undetected.

Most women in Brazil lack one option that American ones often have—looting their kids’ medicine. In a 2004 episode of the American television series “Desperate Housewives”, a harassed Lynette Scavo raided the bathroom and downed her son’s Ritalin, in a bid to cope with being a “supermom”. A year later, a survey showed Ritalin use rising fast among all American adults—especially women. While prescriptions for all 20-44-year-olds had grown by 139% over five years, the rate for women had jumped by 164%. Is it life imitating art, or the subliminal power of the screen?

Adult attention-deficit disorder

Adult attention deficit disorder (AADD) refers to the psychiatric condition currently known as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (also known as attention deficit disorder (ADD)) when it occurs in adulthood.

Although the exact prevalence in adults is unknown, epidemiologic studies thus far reveal that the condition, marked by inattentiveness, difficulty getting work done, procrastination, or organization problems, probably exists in about 2-4% of adults.

Adults’ symptoms may manifest themselves differently from children’s.

Often the most prominent characteristic in ADHD adults is difficulty with executive functioning, which is the brain activity that oversees the ability to monitor a person’s own behavior by planning and organizing.

Other symptoms observed in adults include inattention, impulsivity, and restlessness as well as frequently accompanying behavioral, learning, and emotional problems.

Adults with hyperactive-impulsive symptoms feel restless and constantly “on the go” as they try to do multiple tasks at once.

They are often perceived as not thinking before they act or speak.

For more information about the topic Adult attention-deficit disorder, read the full article at, or see the following related articles:


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