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Understanding the symptoms of ADHD in females

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

By DiverseMinds Research Team

Reading time 6 minutes ⏰


Parents and other caregivers may believe that boys have ADHD if they:


  • can't sit still.

  • interrupting instruction by shouting out of turn

  • spending hours playing video games yet becoming angry after only a few minutes of homework

They may not notice or look for comparable actions in females, but girls do not always display such signals.


Instead, consider what your daughter would say:


  • reads well ahead in the literature provided for class, but fails to complete the homework problems on a regular basis.

  • spends hours working on arithmetic assignments but frequently forgets to submit it

  • instead of paying attention and taking notes, she sits quietly in class, doodling in her notepad.

  • has difficulty making and retaining friends

  • She seemed to be lost in her own thoughts all of the time.

  • Checking work or activities for completeness and accuracy on a regular basis

These coping mechanisms may provide some short-term relief, but they may not always work. They can sometimes exacerbate problems, such as making ADHD symptoms more difficult to detect.


Girls are also more likely than boys to use coping mechanisms such as:

  • putting in extra effort to do schoolwork and household responsibilities in a timely manner.

  • avoiding people, projects, or situations that are difficult for them

  • They create confrontation to divert attention away from their concerns

  • Checking work or tasks for completeness and accuracy on a regular basis

These coping mechanisms may provide some short-term relief, but they may not always work. They can sometimes exacerbate problems, such as making ADHD symptoms more difficult to detect.


Gender stereotypes can also have an effect. Caregivers may believe that silent and dreamy girls, as well as those who are too chatty, are simply "being girls." Instead of examining these indicators in the context of other crucial signs like distractibility, fidgeting, or problems controlling emotions, they may chalk them up to personality.

Furthermore, females with ADHD are more prone to suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety and sadness, which have internalising symptoms. These disorders have symptoms that are similar to those of ADHD, which makes diagnosis even more difficult.

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