As recent as the 1980s, ADHD was still primarily a diagnosis reserved for boys. Today, even though most parents and professionals recognize that ADHD is common in women and girls, we continue to use diagnostic tools that were not designed for the symptoms and challenges typical to the population. The truth is that ADHD manifests differently in girls, and it is diagnosed less frequently. Drs. Steve Hinshaw & Ellen Littman help us upack the topic, exploring what’s really going on underneath the statistics. They address key drivers such as social norms, masking, and the desire to fit in. They also explore why the medical community is still behind in learning how to identify and support girls with ADHD. Listen in to this insightful conversation for a deeper understanding and some great tips on how we as parents can best support girls (and women) to thrive!
Stephen Hinshaw, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at UC Berkeley and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UC San Francisco. His focuses on developmental psychopathology, child and adolescent mental health (particularly ADHD), and the use of clinical trials to understand underlying mechanisms. He also actively investigates mental illness stigmatization and attempts to reduce such stigma.
Hinshaw has authored more than 400 articles, chapters, and commentaries plus 12 books, including Another Kind of Madness: A Journey through the Stigma and Hope of Mental Illness, The Mark of Shame: Stigma of Mental Illness and an Agenda for Change, and The Triple Bind: Saving our Teenage Girls from Today’s Pressures.
He has won numerous national and international research awards, including the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award from the Association for Psychological Science, the Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award from the American Psychological Association, and the Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health from the National Academy of Medicine. His extensive media coverage includes the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Today Show, CBS Evening News, ABC World News Tonight, and many more.
Dr. Ellen B. Littman is a clinical psychologist in private practice in New York State. Educated at Brown and Yale Universities, the doctoral program of Long Island University, and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, she has specialized in neurodiverse disorders for over 30 years.
In her Mount Kisco practice, just north of New York City, Dr. Littman focuses on a high IQ adult and adolescent ADHD population. She has expertise in identifying and treating complex presentations of ADHD that may be misinterpreted or overlooked. Described by the American Psychological Association as “a pioneer in the identification of gender differences in ADHD”, she has extensive experience with issues affecting women and girls with ADHD. She is particularly interested in the diagnostic and treatment challenges of working with high IQ individuals with ADHD, and helps entrepreneurs harness and utilize ADHD traits to their advantage. In addition to individuals, Dr. Littman often works with couples and/or families to optimize communication.
Internationally recognized as an author and speaker, Dr. Littman co-wrote the book “Understanding Girls with ADHD” in 1999, as well as a revised edition in 2015. She has contributed chapters to numerous books, including “The Hidden Side of Adult ADHD” (El lado oculto del TDAH en la edad adulta), “Understanding Women with ADHD”, and “Gender Differences in ADHD”. She has created a video training program on Women with ADHD for the American Medical Association’s continuing education program.
Dr. Littman’s understanding of neurodiversity is informed by her training in neurobiological, cognitive-behavioral, somatic, and psychodynamic perspectives. She has developed a strengths-based assessment that provides the foundation for solution-focused treatment.
Dr. Littman’s therapeutic approach empowers individuals to achieve qualitative and quantitative successes through a combination of psychoeducation, insight, reframing, concrete strategies, and coaching in a safe and validating environment. She is well-versed in the treatment of co-occurring conditions, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and trauma.
With advanced training in trauma, eating disorders, self-harm, and crisis intervention, Dr. Littman has expertise working with individuals with ADHD who have experienced chronic childhood trauma. Her interest in dissociative symptoms that can mimic inattentive ADHD symptoms has led to extensive experience treating dissociative disorders, including Dissociative Identity Disorder.