The Story of a Girl’s Life with ADHD Reads Differently

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However you may feel about the diagnosis of ADHD, chances are you know someone that has it. It has become so common that we all have that friend or co-worker who has been diagnosed and struggles with it. Perhaps an even more likely chance is that this friend is male.

girls with ADHD

Are We More Likely to Diagnose Boys with ADHD than Girls with ADHD?

The percentage of children diagnosed with ADHD has been steadily increasing and sits at 11% of children 4-17 years of age as of 2011. Of these children, boys are far more likely to be diagnosed than girls.

Symptoms appear to be more recognized as ADHD with boys, whereas girls show signs in very different ways.

How ADHD Presents Itself

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders ADHD is defined as the presence of at least 6 symptoms linked to inattention or hyperactivity. Not only that, but these must persist for at least 6 months in a way that isn’t good for the child.

The behavior of boys with ADHD are far easier to recognize, as they’re more likely to be disruptive and restless, drawing the attention of teachers and parents.

Girls with ADHD, however, tend to be inattentive, but hardly aggressive or disorderly. They may be forgetful or find schoolwork stressful. This is due to their inability to focus, making studying difficult which results in poor test results.

Why an Early Diagnosis Is Best

The quiet symptoms of girls with ADHD can make it difficult to get diagnosed, and therefore find treatment for the condition. Since part of the requirement for diagnosis is that the symptoms prove detrimental for the child, doctors may not recognize a girl’s condition as being severe enough to diagnose.

This refusal means that girls with ADHD continue to suffer in silence, forced to deal with the consequences of their impulsivity or inattentiveness. These symptoms can cause social rejection from the other children for a variety of reasons, and the struggle with tests and schoolwork can result in repeating grades, which is more common in girls than boys with ADHD.

With all of this, it should be no surprise that in a study of adult women with ADHD, they found a higher occurrence of depression and anxiety, as well as continued academic impairment.

What Can Be Done?

The key to help is recognizing ADHD early. Treatment at an early age can help the child both academically and socially. Teachers play a critical role when it comes to reporting behaviors linked with ADHD, but most admit to missing the condition because girls are less likely to act out.

As parents, it’s our responsibility to communicate with our children and their educators. We must be the catalyst for change. If your daughter is experiencing difficulty with schoolwork, tests, or making friends, it may be time to have an open and honest conversation. There are always options for help once the diagnosis is made. The first step is recognizing when the help is needed.

Sources: CDC, NCBI