Since symptoms present differently in boys than they do in girls, boys are three times more likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis than girls are. While boys have more externalized symptoms, girls tend to have more internalized ones. This means that for boys these symptoms can manifest as impulsivity and behaviors like excessively running around and other hyperactive behaviors. On the other hand, for girls the symptoms may manifest more as having low self-esteem or having problems with focusing and paying attention. Since girls tend to have more internalized symptoms, they are also more likely than their male counterparts to bottle up their stressors and anger over the hardships of having ADHD, leading to increased risks of anxiety, depression, and even eating disorders.
It is possible to recognize ADHD symptoms in girls, though. Instead of focusing on the more externalized symptoms that boys typically express and that are commonly associated with the disorder, there is another list of symptoms that can also signify ADHD. Some of these symptoms include daydreaming, intellectual impairments, anxiety, verbal aggression instead of physical aggression, and being withdrawn. In boys, symptoms for ADHD may present themselves as an inability to sit still, excessive running, being physically aggressive, and unrestrained talking that may result in often interrupting other people.
Since the symptoms for girls tend to be less obvious as the symptoms for boys, many girls reach their teenage and young adult years without being diagnosed and treated for ADHD. Getting this treatment is important since living with undiagnosed ADHD can lead to a life of struggling with work, school, and ones relationships with others. Also, especially for girls who do not receive this diagnosis in their childhood, they are more prone to other mental disorders like depression and anxiety. It is more common than one might think to find young adults, mostly women, learning that they have been struggling with this treatable disorder their entire lives. If you feel that any of these symptoms may be describing you, or that a lack of ability to focus is hindering your daily life, there is no harm in seeking out medical or psychological advice.
– Haidyn Emmerich
Nourish Your Mind Blog Contributor