Girls with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), especially ones with inattentive symptoms, often get drowned out by hyperactive loud boys who display stereotypical conditions related to the behavior.
As a result, girls are commonly overlooked and their symptoms dismissed as simply being ‘bad’ or ‘acting out.’
ADHD diagnosis doesn’t discriminate against boys or girls, but its symptoms often look different in each gender.
The Present Percentage of Girls Who are Diagnosed with ADHD
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted back in 2016, that 94% of 2 to 17-year-olds in the United States had been diagnosed with ADHD (Medical News Today, n.d.). 14.5% of this number were boys between the age of 5 to 17 years old, while 6.5% were girls of the same age group (Medical News Today, n.d.).
This means that more boys are diagnosed with ADHD than girls. But, this number is still significant because it means that 1 in every 16 girls will be diagnosed with ADHD. At present, the number of girls who are diagnosed with ADHD is on the rise.
What are the Common Symptoms of ADHD in Girls?
While girls can have any of the three kinds of ADHD, they are mostly diagnosed with the inattentive type. ADHD Symptoms of this might include having trouble concentrating, organizing, processing, and learning new information.
Other common ADHD symptoms in girls might include:
- Daydreaming a lot
- Being easily distracted
- Being forgetful
- Having trouble following instructions
- Appearing not to be listening when spoken to
- Starting tasks but not finishing them
- Having trouble paying attention to details
- Appearing spacey or absent-minded
- Trouble maintaining and forming friendships
- Being overly sensitive
- Having low self-esteem
- The habit of abandoning tasks midway
- Distracted or slow movements
- Difficulty completing school homework
- Disturbed sleep
Girls with ADHD often display symptoms that are commonly mistaken or overlooked, these are also known as undiagnosed ADHD. Because girls tend to be quieter and less disruptive, their symptoms are more likely to be dismissed as nothing major.
Some of the above-mentioned symptoms have been seen to become more prominent during their period which can make it easier for diagnosing ADHD.
How Do These Symptoms Change Over Time?
ADHD symptoms in girls tend to worsen during puberty. This is because of the hormonal changes that take place in their bodies. The symptoms might also change depending on the environment they are in. For instance, a girl might be able to focus better in a quiet setting as compared to a noisy one.
They may develop more serious problems like anxiety, depression, and eating disorders during their teenage years. This is why it is important to get an early diagnosis and start treatment as soon as possible.
How Does ADHD Look Differently in Girls Compared to Boys?
ADHD in girls is often characterized by daydreaming, disorganization, and forgetfulness, rather than the hyperactive and impulsive behavior that’s more commonly seen in boys with ADHD. Girls with the condition may also be more prone to anxiety and depression.
While there are some differences between how ADHD affects boys and girls, it’s important to remember that the condition can present itself differently in each individual.
If you suspect that your daughter may have ADHD, it’s important to talk to her doctor. A professional can help you determine whether she has the condition and, if so, what the best course of action is.
Some of the main gender differences between ADHD in boys and girls are:
- Girls are more likely to be diagnosed with inattentive ADHD, while boys are more likely to be diagnosed with the hyperactive-impulsive type.
- Girls might daydream, be forgetful, and appear spacey or absent-minded, while boys are more likely to be disruptive and have trouble sitting still.
- The symptoms of ADHD in girls tend to worsen during puberty, while the symptoms of ADHD in boys may improve with age.
- Girls develop anxiety and depression or other mental health problems, while boys are more likely to develop conduct disorders.
- Boys are generally diagnosed at a younger age, while girls are more likely to be diagnosed as adults.
If you’re struggling with a child with ADHD, gain a deeper understanding with our recommended list of 14 must-read ADHD books for parents.
Signs of ADHD In Girls Across Different Ages
There are a few key signs that parents and caregivers can look for when trying to determine if a 7-year-old girl has ADHD. These include:
1. Difficulty Paying Attention
A girl with attention deficit hyperactive disorder may have trouble paying attention to tasks, both at home and in the child’s school. She may also daydream frequently or be easily distracted.
The girl may seem overly active and have difficulty sitting still for extended periods of time. She may also talk excessively or fidget constantly. She might also display hyperactive-impulsive symptoms.
She may act impulsively, without thinking about the consequences of her actions. She may also blurt out answers before hearing the entire question or interrupt others often.
A child that age with developing ADHD may have trouble staying organized and keeping track of her belongings. She may also forget to turn in homework assignments or lose important papers.
5. Difficulty Completing Tasks
Girls with ADHD tend to, at such a young age, have difficulty completing tasks, both at home and in school. She may start projects but be unable to finish them or become easily frustrated when confronted with challenging tasks.
Symptoms of ADHD in girls usually vary according to their age. For example, a teenage girl with ADHD might:
1. Space out in class or during a conversation
2. Become easily distracted
3. Have difficulty paying attention to detail
4. Struggle to complete assignments on time
5. Appear disorganized and forgetful
6. Daydream excessively
7. Have trouble following directions
8. Act impulsively
9. Engage in risky behaviors
10. Experience mood swings
11. Struggle with anxiety or depression
12. Self-medicate with drugs or alcohol
Girls diagnosed with ADHD as adults often report that their symptoms began in childhood but were not properly diagnosed or treated until later in life. These women may have struggled academically, socially, and emotionally throughout their lives.
They may also have difficulty maintaining relationships, keeping a job, or caring for their children. If you suspect that you may have ADHD, it’s important to talk to your doctor about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. With the right help, you can manage your symptoms and lead a productive and fulfilling life.
Girls with ADHD often struggle in school and at home. They may have difficulty paying attention, completing tasks, or acting impulsively. Occupational Therapy for ADHD is a fantastic way
If you suspect that your daughter has ADHD, it’s important to talk to her doctor so that she can receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. With the right help, she can manage her symptoms and lead a happy life.
Occupational Therapy for ADHD can be a valuable tool in helping individuals with ADHD develop and improve their executive functioning skills, such as time management, organization, and task completion, while also addressing sensory needs through activities like heavy work, proprioceptive input, and tactile stimulation.
Gordon, J. P. (2021, December 20). ADHD in girls: Symptoms, early signs, and complications. Healthline. Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health /adhd/adhd-in-girls#symptoms
MediLexicon International. (n.d.). ADHD in girls: Symptoms, early warning signs, and complications. Medical News Today. Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315009
Connolly, M. (2022, March 3). ADHD in girls: The symptoms that are ignored in females. ADDitude. Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-in-girls-women/
How to tell if your daughter has ADHD. Child Mind Institute. (2021, August 16). Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://childmind.org/article/how-to-tell-if-your-daughter-has-adhd/