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Women and Stimulants: A Lingering Bias

For decades, healthcare providers were taught to be wary of prescribing stimulant medications to women. Women, they were told, were likely to use stimulants inappropriately. Women would like the appetite suppression and accompanying weight loss too much. Women would enjoy the ability to focus and multitask too much. Women were merely on a quest to become "superwomen." Healthcare providers were even taught to watch for signs of mothers stealing their own children's ADHD medications to use the drugs for themselves.
To be certain, some women do have problems with stimulant abuse and dependence, but denying women adequate treatment based on the fear that they would respond too well is simply ridiculous and unfair. Treatment should be based on actual science (which is shockingly lacking, since researchers have only recently focused on ADHD in women), not myths and unfounded fears.
Stimulants can work remarkably well for many people, but if stimulants aren't right for you (perhaps you have a heart condition or a history of drug abuse), or if you're just not comfortable taking them, don't forget that there are nonstimulant medications approved to treat ADHD as well.

ADHD and Women: A Few Parting Thoughts

For most women, the demands of modern womanhood are overwhelming enough without the added stress of ADHD. Add this condition to the mix, and it can be a recipe for strained or failed relationships, poor work performance, trouble with anxiety and depression, and difficultly with the day-to-day demands of motherhood and managing a household.
In addition to medical treatment, try to seek simplicity and structure as much as possible, be sure to avoid overbooking and overcommitting yourself (you'll need to learn the art of saying "no"), and learn to forgive yourself and laugh at yourself.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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