How Common is ADHD in Girls?

Patti Kate

Although girls are as likely to be affected by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as boys, symptoms are often misdiagnosed. This may be in part because scientific studies of ADHD have been conducted primarily on males, or because boys are more prone to stereotypical ADHD behavior. While ADHD in girls creates the same symptoms, such as shorter attention span and difficulty concentrating or focusing on tasks, females often go undiagnosed for a longer time than males. Girls also tend to exhibit a lack of concentration more than hyperactivity.

Difficulty concentrating may be a sign of ADHD in children.
Difficulty concentrating may be a sign of ADHD in children.

Studies have shown that when a group of preteen and adolescent girls are diagnosed with ADHD, the majority of them are also affected with other psychological or behavioral issues. These may include mood swings, anxiety, depression, or aggressive tendencies.

Symptoms of ADHD in girls are often misdiagnosed.
Symptoms of ADHD in girls are often misdiagnosed.

While many experts believe that ADHD is as common in girls as in boys, there is a contradicting common belief that boys are more likely to be affected with this condition. This contradiction may be due to the varying degree of symptoms exhibited in males and females. ADHD seems to manifest in different ways depending on gender, according to experts and child therapists.

ADHD in girls tends to manifest in concentration issues. Girls with the disorder primarily are unable to concentrate and stay focused, while boys are more prone to hyperactivity. It is very common, therefore, for girls with ADHD to be inattentive in school, for example.

Keeping this in mind, parents and other adults looking for ADHD in girls should be attentive to girls who are having trouble concentrating. Approximately one out of every 25 or 30 female children may be affected by some form of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Many of these cases may go undetected for years, however.

For every three males to be diagnosed with ADHD, only one female child may receive correct diagnosis. This could be due to teachers' tendencies to report these behavior patterns in boys, especially those displaying hyperactivity. Hyperactivity, impetuous behavior, and aggressiveness tend to be more prevalent in male children, explaining why society easily recognizes problems more readily in boys.

If a girl displays an inability to concentrate or her teacher informs her parents that she is inattentive in class, she should be evaluated for ADHD. She may have a cognitive disorder, learning disability, or a true case of ADHD. There are various forms of attention deficit disorders, and females may not be affected with the hyperactivity aspect of ADHD. Therefore, ADHD in girls may create symptoms such as inability to take orders and follow through with directions. Girls with ADHD may seem less focused and display daydreaming-type episodes.

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