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ADHD in Girls


Written by Emily Santrac

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurological disorder commonly diagnosed in childhood and stands for “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” However, people with ADHD may find that it is not a deficit of attention, but simply an inability or difficulty to divert attention from a previous task or interest. ADHD is also not necessarily hyperactive. There are three common forms of ADHD: hyperactive, inattentive, and combined. Symptoms of the three different forms may overlap and vary by person, but here are a few of the general symptoms:

Hyperactivity: excessive talking, fidgeting, interrupting others or self, hard to sit still

Inattention: excessive daydreaming, forgetfulness, easily distracted, difficulty following instructions (previously labeled as ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder)

Combined: a combination of both symptoms


ADHD Symptoms in Girls

ADHD is often overlooked in girls, with their male counterparts getting diagnosed 3-4 times as often, despite research showing that girls are just as likely to have ADHD.


Boys tend to have hyperactive ADHD, while girls tend to have the inattentive form. ADHD is commonly stereotyped as hyperactive. When most people are asked what they think of ADHD, they generally think of a young child jumping off the walls with energy, often coinciding with the hyperactive symptoms. This leads to the underdiagnosing of people (often girls) with inattentive ADHD, who tend to be withdrawn and hold excessive energy or anxiety inwards rather than outwards.


Symptoms of ADHD in girls may include:

  • Low self-esteem

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Tendency to daydream

  • Social anxiety and trouble with peers

  • Forgetfulness

  • “Exaggerated” emotional responses

ADHD Coping Methods

Due to the varying forms of ADHD and diversity of brains and people with ADHD, there is no one treatment or coping method. Finding the coping method that works for you specifically is important, and can result from trial and error. It’s okay if something may work for one person, but not for you. However, you do not have to go through that process alone. Going to therapy is a valuable coping method which can help you find further treatments on a personal level.


A few common coping methods and treatments include:

  • Exercise: Exercise can help release stress and excess energy.

  • Engaging and Creative Hobbies: Finding a hobby that fully engages your brain can help prevent boredom, anxiety, and depression.

  • Therapy: Talking to a professional can help you work through your thoughts and find other treatments.

  • Medication: Multiple forms of medication exists for ADHD, and it is important to talk to a therapist and psychologist to see if medication is the right treatment for you. Remember, it is important to listen to your body and to let the professionals know if the specific medication they prescribe does not end up working for you. What works for one brain may not work for another!

Sources

ADHD in Girls: How to Recognize the Symptoms. (n.d.). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmeE3qTJRUw&ab_channel=HowtoADHD

ADHD Symptoms in Girls. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2023, from https://www.autism360.com/adhd-symptoms-in-girls/

Coping strategies. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2023, from https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/issues/coping-strategies

Living with ADHD. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2023, from https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/issues/living-adhd

20 Signs and Symptoms of ADHD in Girls. (n.d.). https://www.verywellmind.com/adhd-in-girls-symptoms-of-adhd-in-girls-20547

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