ADHD in Men

Health Writer

During childhood and adolescence, more boys are diagnosed with ADHD than girls. Dr. Patricia Quinn, in an article that appeared in the NY Daily News, indicates that boys are diagnosed 2.3 to 3 times more often. But in adulthood, these statistics are reversed, with more women seeking a diagnosis than men. In the same article, Mary Solanto, direction of the AD/DHD Center at Mount Sinai Medical Center says "Women may be more amenable to being helped." [1]

It is estimated that only 25 percent of adults with ADHD have been diagnosed, even though ADHD is a lifetime, chronic disorder. [2] That leaves millions of men feeling the impact of undiagnosed ADHD.

  • Adult men with ADHD may have a history of employment problems, possibly moving from job to job or having long periods of unemployment. They may be disorganized or forgetful, such as missing important appointments. They may be consistently late for work.

  • Many men with ADHD have received several traffic tickets or been in multiple accidents.

  • Men with ADHD may have significant relationship problems. They may have trouble with communication. Joy Toll of ADDults with ADHD in Australia explains, "Men with ADHD can be attractive because they're often fun loving, but when kids come along, life gets more complex, and that's often when the problems start. Women realize they're living with someone who can't organize a bunfight - it's like having another kid." [3]

  • Adults with ADHD, especially those that were not diagnosed until adulthood, may have suffered through years of academic and behavior issues which can lead to poor self-esteem.

  • There is a high incident rate of coexisting conditions, such as depression and anxiety, in adults with ADHD. Although the incident rate of depression is higher in women, there is a risk for men as well.

  • Substance abuse in adults with ADHD is three times higher in adults with ADHD than those without ADHD. [4]

Treatment for men with ADHD is the same as for children: psychotherapy, medication or a combination of treatments according to the National Institutes of Mental Health. Although some of the medications for ADHD have not been approved for adults, doctors can still prescribe these medications "off-label" based on clinical data and past experience.

In addition, other physical conditions and medication must be taken into consideration when prescribing stimulant medication to adults with ADHD. For example, those with cardiac conditions may not be able to take stimulants or some medications for high blood pressure can negatively interact with ADHD medications. It is important to stay in close contact with your doctor when beginning medication for ADHD.

Psychotherapy or counseling can also help. Counselors can help to develop strategies to help in coping with symptoms on a daily basis and therapy can help in working on self-esteem issues. Some adults with ADHD have found cognitive behavioral therapy helps in reducing impulsive behaviors, stopping high-risk, dangerous behaviors and improving self-esteem.

For more information:

Spouse Denial

10 ADHD Myths

ADHD at Work

When to See a Doctor About ADHD


[4] ADHD Among Adult ADHD, Date Unknown, Author Unknown,

[3]" Disruptive Influence", 2006, April 13, Paula Goodyer, The Sydney Morning Herald

[1] [2] "More Women Than Men Seek Help for Treatment of Adult ADHD", 2010, April 6, Rosemary Black, NY Daily News