ADHD in Girls: Suffering in Silence

ADHD in Girls: Suffering in Silence

By: Stacey Rodriguez

Generally thought to be a disorder specific to school-aged boys, attention deficit disorder (ADHD) has shown to be relatively prevalent in girls as well. The disorder includes 3 subtypes: hyperactive and impulsive  (HI), inattentive, and combination. ADHD is commonly associated with the HI subtype, which is most commonly exhibited by boys. Contrastingly, girls tend to exhibit the inattentive subtype. By nature, inattentive features are not as overtly obstructive as that of hyperactivity and impulsivity, often causing them to go unnoticed. In fact, studies estimate that 75% of girls with attention deficit disorder never get diagnosed. Additionally, it is theorized that societal norms, such as gender roles, might also be a factor in this disparity; since many overt characteristics of ADHD do not align with female gender norms, such as the tendency to be disorganized or interrupt others speaking, girls with the disorder tend to suppress the tell tale signs. 

The result of undiagnosed attention deficit disorder can be detrimental, as it can lead to mental health consequences in adulthood. This is largely due to the fact that girls tend to internalize mistakes. This internalization leads to negative internal dialogues, which puts girls with ADHD at higher risk for eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression. It is imperative to be aware of the ways in which the disorder manifests differently in girls. For example,

A girl with ADHD might:

-be more more easily irritated, or sensitive to certain sounds/feelings

-talk significantly more than her peers and often interrupt others

-struggle to commit to completing tasks or activities

-often make “careless” errors

-seem to be especially disorganized

-tend to be forgetful

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for attention deficit disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit


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