Mental Health

Is ADHD More Common Among Boys or Girls?

Is ADHD More Common Among Boys or Girls?

Key Takeaways

  • Both genders are equally susceptible to getting ADHD.
  • Boys are diagnosed with ADHD three times more than girls are. 
  • ADHD in girls is often left undiagnosed. 

Why are boys diagnosed with ADHD more often?

Despite both genders being at equal risk, boys tend to be diagnosed more often because the symptoms they display due to the illness are more obvious and easily spotted. Boys display externalized symptoms, such as running around a little too much or difficulty sitting still; however, girls with ADHD are often inattentive and have a low self-esteem. Therefore, it is much easier for a parent to suspect their son has ADHD and have them tested, but parents might assume their daughter's symptoms are just manifestations of their personality.

Boys, who tend to be more physically active will display the commonly known symptoms of ADHD, like hyperactivity, in order to externalize their frustrations. Girls, on the other hand, who are more verbally aggressive, show symptoms that require a very keen eye and understanding of the condition. Because most parents would not want to believe that their daughters may be ill, they attempt other remedies in an attempt to correct what they assume is a personality issue.

Misconceptions about a gender difference in ADHD cases

In 2004, Mayo Clinic published a study conducted by their team of researchers that had gone through medical and school records of children born between 1976 and 1982. Cases of ADHD in the study were found to be higher among the boys studied than their female counterparts, and they concluded the difference must have been as a result of gender difference. Later studies shed further light on the difference in diagnosed cases and that led to a more conclusive view of the condition.

What this means for girls

Because girls' ADHD symptoms are often overlooked, most of the cases go undetected and undiagnosed, leading to problems down the road. Research has shown that without a diagnosis, those affected with ADHD, especially girls, can have mental problems with time, further diminishing their physical well-being.

It may also lead to depression, anxiety, eating disorders and even social problems where they may have more difficulty in their personal lives. It's never good when a person turns their frustrations and anger inward toward themselves, but that is what usually happens when ADHD goes undiagnosed.

Recognizing ADHD in girls

It requires a keener look at ADHD symptoms among girls in order to spot the condition, and sometimes it may need a completely new view.

Common symptoms among girls with ADHD may include some of the following:

  • appearing not to listen and a tendency to daydream or space out during the conversation
  • problems focusing on tasks
  • missing deadlines and forgetfulness
  • being withdrawn
  • low self-esteem and anxiety
  • intellectual impairment and difficulty with academic achievement
  • verbal aggression through teasing, taunting, and name-calling

Avoiding an undiagnosed case of ADHD

It is possible to mask ADHD symptoms with anti-anxiety medications or sedatives, but the problem with ADHD is that it may cause more serious symptoms as the child ages. You should, therefore, seek the diagnosis for the condition from a proper healthcare professional as soon as you spot any symptoms that may be as a result of ADHD. It would be good for the child both in the short-term and long-term, plus for the good of the family and society in general.