Coexisting Conditions

Other conditions can also be present along with ADHD, especially when ADHD is not diagnosed and treated during childhood. This is especially the case with undiagnosed women and one of the reasons they are often treated only for the coexisting condition (comorbidity).

Here are some conditions that women often have in addition to their ADHD:

  • Anxiety Disorders, such as social anxiety disorder or obsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Emotional dysregulation
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Substance use disorders, alcohol or drug abuse
  • Personality disorders
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Autism Spectrum Conditions

ADHD is highly comorbid with circadian-based disorders:

  • Sleep disorders – insomnia, sleep apnea, circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders
  • Eating disorders, such as binge eating, obesity, anorexia, bulimia

Comfort eating is common in females with ADHD, especially if untreated; this is a stress reliever for them. At the same time, a high percentage of women are delayed sleep phase types, which means that they produce melatonin later at night than their non-ADHD peers and their cortisol levels are similarly out of sync in the morning. Many also have sleep apnea, which severely affects the quality of their sleep. Chronic lack of sleep is associated with obesity because when a person is tired, they are hungrier than when they have slept well (Kooij & Bijlenga, 2014).

In addition to these, the following comorbidities are prevalent due to how hormones affect women:

  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Autism in females is also not as easy to diagnose as it is in males so a woman with ADHD and Autism have to doubly compensate for their perceived differences.

Where do I get support for a diagnosis or find out treatment options?