In need of a diagnosis

By Audrey SomnardMisch Pautsch Switch to French for original article

ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity) also affects adults, especially women who are under-diagnosed. A specialist in the field has demonstrated the influence of hormones that accentuate the symptoms. Some explanations.

The reception hall in Strassen was packed during the conference. More than 80 people came to listen to a Dutch ADHD specialist. Mostly women, often diagnosed late and looking for answers to their problems. Dr Sandra Kooij (professor, from the University Medical Centre Amsterdam/VUMc, specialised in ADHD for adults, and head of the centre of expertise on adult ADHD, PsyQ, in The Hague) has been dealing with ADHD for more than twenty years. She started as an adult psychiatrist without specialising in the disorder, which she thought was only for children, when ADHD patients suddenly started addressing her. It was at a symposium that she learned that ADHD persists after childhood. This disorder threatens concerned people with "lifelong suffering" and is often accompanied by addictions such as smoking and alcohol.

The list of ADHD-related problems is long, but it differs between men and women. The cliché of the hyperactive child has a hard life: a little boy who acts like a tornado, aggressive, violent, and who can't stay put. He drives his parents, along with the adults who have the onerous task of bringing him under control, crazy. If ADHD would affect men as much as women, then men would be diagnosed much earlier and more frequently than women.

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