Psychedelic Substances as a Potential Treatment for ADHD with the Focus on Female Subjects


  • Anja Stojkovic University of Vienna


According to [1], the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is increasing, making it one of the most prevalent mental disorders within child and adolescent psychiatry, affecting approximately 5% of the population. ADHD is associated with significant societal and personal burdens, impacting academic and occupational functioning. Furthermore, while it was previously believed that males were more susceptible to this condition, closer examination of previous research suggests that the observed gender disparity in diagnoses may be attributed to biased samples or a lack of symptom recognition in females. Therefore, it is crucial to gain a better understanding of ADHD, particularly in women [2].

Considering the potential bias in diagnostic criteria, similar concerns arise regarding the current medications used to treat ADHD symptoms. Apart from potentially being more suitable for male physiology, these medications can also lead to numerous side effects. As a result, researchers are exploring the possibility of using microdosing with psychoactive substances, such as psychedelics, as an alternative treatment approach for ADHD. Although this field of research is still in its early stages, promising results have been obtained from preliminary studies and self-reports [3]. However, controlled studies are needed to establish the efficacy and safety of psychedelics for ADHD treatment.

While many details of this study are yet to be determined, an ideal approach would involve an empirical investigation utilizing both behavioral and neurophysiological methodologies. This would include collecting data through brain scanners (EEG/fMRI), questionnaires, and interviews. Additionally, assessing participants over an extended period (e.g., one, three, and six months) would provide insights into the potential long-term effects of microdosing psychedelics and help determine the most beneficial dosage and timing ratio.

Considering that ADHD significantly affects human cognition, conducting research in this area will not only advance our understanding of its causes and treatments but also contribute to a broader comprehension of cognition.


[1] R. Drechsler, S. Brem, D. Brandeis, E. Grünblatt, G. Berger, and S. Walitza, “ADHD: Current Concepts and Treatments in Children and Adolescents,” Neuropediatrics, vol. 51, no. 5, pp. 315–335, Oct. 2020, doi:10.1055/s-0040-1701658

[2] S. Young et al., “Females with ADHD: An expert consensus statement taking a lifespan approach providing guidance for the identification and treatment of attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder in girls and women,” BMC Psychiatry, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 1–27, Aug. 2020, doi:10.1186/s12888-020-02707-9

[3] N. R. P. W. Hutten, N. L. Mason, P. C. Dolder, and K. P. C. Kuypers, “Self-Rated Effectiveness of Microdosing With Psychedelics for Mental and Physical Health Problems Among Microdosers,” Frontiers in Psychiatry, vol. 10, Sep. 2019, doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00672