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ADHD in Boys and Girls: Is there a Difference?


ADHD in Boys and Girls: Is there a Difference?

ADHD in Boys and Girls: Is there a Difference?

November 19, 2021 abbey No Comments

Imagine what someone with ADHD would act like. Do you have that picture in your head? For most people, when they imagine someone with ADHD, they picture someone that cannot sit still and has a hard time paying attention. While that is true for some people with ADHD, it is not valid for everyone. In fact, this description entirely leaves out some aspects of ADHD.

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and is one of the most common conditions children are diagnosed with. ADHD symptoms can be broken down into three broad categories: inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.

The Symptoms of ADHD in Boys vs. Girls

So, how does ADHD differ between boys and girls?

Boys are more likely to show the symptoms of ADHD that we commonly associate with it. These include externalized symptoms such as being unable to sit still, running around, and being impulsive.

On the other hand, girls are more likely to have internalized symptoms of ADHD, such as an inability to pay attention and low self-esteem.

These differences also manifest as boys being more physically aggressive, while girls are more verbally aggressive.

All in all, these differences in symptoms lead to more boys being diagnosed with ADHD. In fact, boys are three times more likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis. This is primarily because their symptoms are much more noticeable, and in a school setting, distracting, than the symptoms girls typically experience.

Girls with ADHD often have symptoms that are much more subtle and harder for adults to recognize. In addition, since girls with ADHD have symptoms that do not lead to behavioral problems as often, their difficulties are often overlooked, resulting in them being less likely to be referred for evaluation or treatment.

Girls with undiagnosed ADHD are more likely to turn their frustrations inward, manifesting as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

The signs of ADHD in girls to look for include:

  • low self-esteem
  • being withdrawn
  • intellectual impairment
  • anxiety
  • trouble focusing
  • inattentiveness
  • verbal aggression

Of course, it is always possible for a girl to present with external symptoms of ADHD; they do not solely experience the above manifestations.

ADHD in girls is more likely to be undiagnosed, but in some cases, ADHD in boys is also brushed off as “kids being kids”. Symptoms to look out for in boys include:

  • impulsivity
  • inability to sit still
  • hyperactivity
  • physical aggression
  • inattentiveness
  • talking excessively
  • frequently interrupting others

The Importance of Diagnosis

No matter the symptoms, it is important for ADHD to be treated. Parents and teachers should keep an eye out for any of the above symptoms. If any are present, the best way to diagnose ADHD is through a neuropsychological assessment. This test will be able to determine if a child has ADHD and what aspects of their life it impacts.

With the results of a neuropsychological assessment, doctors can determine the best treatment, which could include medication, behavioral therapy, or a combination.

If you are interested in learning more about ADHD or scheduling a neuropsychological assessment, call Abbey Neuropsychology Clinic for more information.



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