Gender Differences in ADHD: How are Girls Different From Boys?

The stereotype of ADHD is boys disrupting the classroom by jumping up from their seats, getting in other kids’ business or blurting out answers without raising their hands. But girls get ADHD too, and they tend to be diagnosed much later because their symptoms are more subtle.

  • More of them have only the inattentive symptoms of ADHD, and they get written off as dreamy or ditzy.
  • If they have the hyperactive-impulsive symptoms they are more likely to be seen as pushy, hyper-talkative or overemotional.
  • Impulsive girls may have trouble being socially appropriate and struggle to make and keep friends.
  • They often work so hard to compensate for their weaknesses that they are able to hide their challenges.
  • The growing awareness, as they get older, that they have to work much harder than their peers without ADHD is very damaging to their self-esteem.
  • Girls who are chronically hard on themselves about their mistakes may be struggling with thoughts that they’re stupid or broken.