A paucity of research is available about women diagnosed at ages over 40 years with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Asherton, et al. (2012) places the need for focused research in a frame of societal burden. What might the overall local, state, and national tax loss amount to when women are mis-or under diagnosed or worse, are placed in frames of gender biased “That’s just how women are,” frames in cartoons, email, and comedic acts?
How do drug company efficacy trials on children and limited time studies on adults translate to gender differences in the ADHD brain?
How does the plethora of research on children apply to adult women?
Is there a gender difference in brain activity and reaction and/or response to drug therapies?
Does a relationship exist between later lifespan onset of autoimmune disorders and long-term ADHD/ADD drug therapies?
Do drug therapies affect perimenopause or menopause processes?
How do drug therapies affect cognitive or physiological aging over time?
What are the effects if any, of long-term (decade or more) use of ADD/ADHD drug therapies on the immune system?
What about autoimmune disorders diagnosed in later life span ages (greater than age 55)?
Finally, why aren’t we doing research on adults now as a preventive measure for the millions of children who have grown up over the past three decades under the influence of various daily drug therapies?
Nussbaum (2012) addressed some of these questions in her review of current literature on females diagnosed with ADHD, questions that I have asked since my own diagnosis a little over a decade ago. Waddell and McCarthy (2012) focused on gender differences in the ADHD brain and ended with the same research suggestions that have been made for over a decade, recognizing the continuing gap in the extant literature. That gap recognizes gender differences, specifically a relationship between hormone levels and the ADHD brain, though continues to suggest that further focused research is needed (Waddell & McCarthy, 2012, p. 353).
(This is a post in progress, please feel free to add your comments in the meantime.)
Asherton, P., Akehurst, R., Kooij, J. J. S., Huss, M., Beausterien, K.,…Hodgkins, P. (2012). Under disgnosis of adult ADHD: Cultural influences and societal burden. Journal of Attention Disorders, Suppl.16(5), 205-395. doi:10.1177/1087054711435360
Nussbaum, N.L. (2012). ADHD and female specific concerns: A review of the literature and clinical implications. Journal of Attention Disorders, 16(2), 97-100. doi:101177/1087054711416909
Waddell, J., & McCarthy, M. M. (2012). Sexual differentiation of the brain and ADHD: What is a sex difference in prevalence telling us? Behavioral Neuroscience of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and its Treatment, 9, 341-360. doi:10.1007/7854_2010_114. doi:10.1177/1087054711435360