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  • Lori Melnitsky

Is ADHD Different for Girls? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Is ADHD Different for Girls? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

by Lori Melnitsky, Certified ADHD and SLP

A common misconception about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is that it is only found in boys. In reality, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. Girls can be diagnosed with ADHD too. However, their symptoms typically look quite different from ADHD in boys. In this post, we will discuss these differences and dive into the reasons behind them. Let’s get into it!

How is ADHD Different in Girls?

Some of the most recognizable symptoms of ADHD are impulsivity and hyperactivity. However, these symptoms are less apparent in girls, causing them to be misdiagnosed. Instead, females with ADHD are more likely to demonstrate the following symptoms:

· Inability to focus

· Difficulty listening to instructions

· Frequent daydreams

· Tendency to procrastinate or avoid tasks that require attention

· Forgetful

· Losing things frequently

· Having a perpetually messy room

· Making obvious mistakes

On top of these, girls are more likely to face criticism for their symptoms. The combination of misdiagnosis and criticism from peers, teachers, and parents can often result in mental health struggles. These can include high levels of stress and anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, and increased chances of self-harm.

Do Girls Mask Their ADHD Symptoms?

Girls with ADHD have a greater tendency to feel ashamed of their symptoms than boys with ADHD. This can result from societal differences in the treatment between boys and girls or differences in brain development.

Regardless of how it develops, this shame leads girls to want to mask their symptoms and make up for them however they can. For that reason, some parents might not even recognize a problem in their daughters. This could also cause misdiagnosis or lack of diagnosis at all.

Typically, children will be diagnosed with ADHD between the ages of 6 and 12. However, an initial diagnosis can come much later for girls or be overlooked entirely.

If you believe that your daughter is struggling with ADHD, opening up discussions about her symptoms is the first step. It’s important to create a safe space where she can talk about her symptoms without fearing judgment. From there, you can schedule an appointment with a mental health expert to determine an appropriate diagnosis.

What Type of ADHD is Most Common in Girls?

When it comes to ADHD, there are three main types.

The first is hyperactive or impulsive ADHD. This version causes individuals to behave impulsively with hyperactivity. However, these individuals don’t have difficulties with focus. Hyperactive or impulsive ADHD is often more common in boys.

The second type is inattentive ADHD. This type causes individuals to become distracted easily. While they have difficulty focusing or following instructions, they do not suffer from hyperactivity. Inattentive ADHD is ofen more common in girls.

The third type of ADHD is a combination of these. Individuals with combination ADHD will have impulsive and hyperactive tendencies as well as difficulties maintaining focus. Combination ADHD can be found in both girls and boys, depending on their symptoms.

Next Steps for Girls With ADHD

If you or your daughter is suffering from ADHD, I am here to help! As a certified ADHD coach for parents of children with ADHD, I can help you navigate your child’s diagnosis and facilitate communication between you. I am also a certified ADHD coach who specializes in students and adults with ADHD. Contact me today for more information!

Please email me at

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