Did you know that girls can have ADHD too?
According to the CDC (based on data collected from 2016-2018), 10.8% of the population have ever been diagnosed with ADHD- 14.6% of boys have ever been diagnosed with ADHD, and 6.9% of girls have ever been diagnosed with ADHD.
Perhaps some of the broad discrepancy amongst boys and girls is related to the lack of recognition of symptoms in females. Many females go undiagnosed until adulthood. Some professionals still think of ADHD as a disorder for only boys, and may overlook symptoms in girls who may ‘fly under the radar’ for years. As adults, females may seek diagnosis and treatment due to struggling to keep up with the demands of their busy lives (work, school, kids, social life, etc.), financial management, or just ‘living in chaos.’
Sometimes, women with ADHD are first diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder or Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The magazine ADDitude reports, “Girls with ADHD tend to try harder than their male counterparts to compensate for and cover up symptoms. To keep up their grades, girls are often more willing to put in extra hours of studying and to ask their parents for help. In addition, girls are more likely to be ‘people pleasers,’ doing all they can to fit in- even when they know they are different.” This pressure can have negative impacts on their mood, self-esteem, and relationships.
Some researchers have looked at how the demands and expectations for females in our society push females to seek out assessment and treatment. In the same article from ADDitude, Dr. Nadeau (a clinical psychologist) states, “The pressure on women to be organized, self-controlled, to be the one who’s keeping everybody else organized, is a societal expectation that’s very deeply ingrained. Women feel very much a failure if they can’t keep their house in order.”
So where to go from here?
Well, if you feel like you are constantly moving just to ‘keep up with things,’ always seem to be forgetting things, struggle with managing your finances, and find the demands of life to be overwhelming at times- please reach out!
If you are a professional (teacher, doctor, etc.), keep in mind that ADHD does not just affect boys! Educate yourself so that you can most effectively help a kiddo who is struggling.
A great book recommendation for female with ADHD is A Radical Guide for Women with ADHD by Sari Solden and Michelle Frank. This workbook is empowering, thought provoking, and positive!