9 Things to Know About Girls With ADHD
Eileen Bailey | Feb 15, 2018
Despite the immense amount of research on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), girls with ADHD are misunderstood and underdiagnosed. They often have inattentive type ADHD, which means they have trouble focusing and blocking out distractions but aren’t hyperactive or impulsive. In girls, ADHD is often referred to as a hidden disorder and is frequently overlooked and therefore untreated. Keep reading to learn nine things to know about girls with ADHD.
Symptoms in girls and women
Relationships are overwhelming
Girls with ADHD can find the complexities of having a social life — friendships and romantic relationships — overwhelming. They may struggle to make and maintain relationships, according to ChildMind.org. Inattentive symptoms can make it difficult for them to keep up with the verbal give-and-take of their peers.
Coexisting conditions are common
Women with ADHD often have coexisting conditions such as anxiety, depression, compulsive overeating, alcohol abuse, and chronic sleep deprivation. Compared to women without ADHD, they tend to have more depressive symptoms, feel more stressed, and have lower self-esteem, according to CHADD National Resource Center on ADHD.
Mood disorders felt more deeply than in men with ADHD
Girls and women tend to experience mood and anxiety disorders at the same rate as men with ADHD, but they appear to experience more psychological distress than men according to CHADD. They may also have an increased risk for oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder, according to the CADDAC.
The effect of menopause on ADHD
Girls underdiagnosed during childhood
Three times as many boys are diagnosed with ADHD than girls during childhood but the diagnostic rates in adults are about equal, indicating that many girls with ADHD go undiagnosed when younger, according to a review completed in 2011. Some studies estimate that 50 to 75 percent of girls with ADHD go undiagnosed according to Scholastic.com.
As demands of life increase, the rate of diagnosis increases
It isn’t fully understood why women with ADHD are frequently diagnosed later than males. It could be because they don’t have symptoms of hyperactivity, and are overlooked or because cognitive skills helped compensate during the early years. But when demands of high school, college and work became more difficult, they couldn’t keep up, according to a study completed in the United Kingdom.