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Could It Be ADHD?

Could It Be ADHD?
It is only in the last few years researchers have begun including school age girls in studies involving Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADD/ADHD). Almost all of the studies in the past have only included boys and the few that included girls only included a very small number.

With new ADHD research coming in from studies that include a fair number of both genders, it is becoming abundantly clear that the number of girls who have this disorder is a lot higher than what was once thought.



The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that 2 million U.S. children have been diagnosed with ADHD and more than a third of these children are girls. These are shocking statistics to many who have always characterized ADHD as a boy’s disorder.

According to a study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology that compared both boys and girls diagnosed with ADHD, boys were much more likely to interfere in the classroom and show a higher rate of aggression. However, the study goes on to report that both boys and girls with ADHD were equally off-task and fidgety.

The findings of this study show us why so many girls suffering from ADHD are going undiagnosed. Parents and teachers are missing the symptoms in girls because the big indicator of ADHD has always been aggression and interference. The symptoms girls display are often times more subtle than the aggressive behavior boys usually display. Girls tend to be the daydreamer type, are very disorganized, become confused when faced with directions, have poor handwriting, are unable to focus, and so on.

When a woman with ADHD goes undiagnosed as a child her risk of substance abuse, low self-esteem, and depression is much higher. This is why it is so important that parents and teachers can recognize the different signs girls with ADHD present at home and in the classroom so they can receive the help they need at an earlier age.


What do you think of the new studies that indicate more girls suffer from ADHD than was once thought?

How do you think parents and teachers could be made aware of the symptoms they should be looking for in their daughters and students?

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  • patpenney By patpenney
    06.29.07  

    I think the new studies are right on target. For years I have thought that myself, sister and mother were either ADHD or ADD. In reading the indicators. I am more convinced then ever. I hope with the teachers and parents help more girls can be diagnosed and treated at an earlier age.

  • ladymv By ladymv
    06.30.07  

    My sister and I both have ADD. We were not diagnosed until we were young adults. For years people just thought I was a space cadet. We have both been told that our ADD is "an excuse" and that we don't really have it. Nothing could be more ignorant. ADD is a serious learning disability. I'm glad to see it get the proper attention, especially in regards to young women who often have to suffer so much in silence.

  • LeeLeeLove101 By LeeLeeLove101
    06.30.07  

    Well it is good, but there are a lot of people who say that they have it and don't as well.

  • critterel By critterel
    07.02.07  

    When I was growing up, I was very lucky to be of higher than average intelligence. Because of this I was put into classes where I did not get stuck doing busy work of worksheets and normal homework. I was in the higher honors classes where we did more discussion and then wrote papers. When I got into College whenever we did have more intense work I got very overwhelmed, and eventually stopped college for a couple years until I'd been at work for a awhile and finished over time. I had no idea that you could be "ADD" and not be Hyperactive. As time went on and I got more and more responsibility at work, I became more and more easily distracted and had to work harder and harder to focus. I was tired all the time, and totally stressed out. When I had to multitask and then several people would come at me at once, OMG. It was torture.

    Then I met him. This guy at work. He was taking this med and he told me about it. I asked the Psychiatrist at the clinic about it, and he tried me on it. I was totally stunned. I felt like somewhat had put shutters out there. It was just so much easier to get through the day, I cannot explain it to you unless you have gone through it.

    Now I think my daughter has it and the pediatrician is totally blowing me off and there are hardly any Child Psychiatrists around this state. Drives me nuts.

    So there ya go.

    Yeah, Girls do get it. There are quiet, smart and dreamy. They just don't quite get what the teacher said... or they heard something else. Or, they couldn't focus because they cannot screen out the other four conversations going on in the room.

    So- the history lesson did not stick in their head- Anyway, because they do not MISBEHAVE it is not memorable. They are good, quiet so they get overlooked.

    I wasn't diagnosed until I was 42.

  • critterel By critterel
    07.02.07  

    Duh, I didn't answer your question. See.. no attention to detail. LOL. Most parents do not want to know there is a problem with their children and would not want to hear it from teachers. Teachers should be willing to listen to a Parent if the parent sees the signs, unlike the teachers I spoke to.

    What should they see in a girl?

    How are your daughters grades? Does your daughter come home from school and seem confused by her homework? Does she not seem to remember what the teacher said in class? Does your daughter put herself down frequently for not remembering things? Does she say things like, "Stupid me, I can never concentrate on that. I am always losing things. I am so unorganized. I wish I could just understand what she was talking about."

    Do they have trouble with timed tests? There is a lot of depression, frustration and stress that I remember at my high school age. I also see it in my daughter.

    I would basically find some way to popularize it on television. Probably on a popular drama that is watched a great deal like, Desperate Housewives or something. Maybe that way people would see it rather than just have it be empty air. If the kids saw the symptoms on a character and related and said, "Hey that feels like me!" They would be more likely to get help than if there were preachy messages going out being judgemental. You will probably see more from Paris Hilton saying she has it than from a hundred public service announcements.

  • sharman421 By sharman421
    07.04.07  

    As a teacher, it validates what most of us have known all along. Many parents don't want to hear it, even when we try to explain that many girls don't show the hyperactivity. These girls simply can't focus and retain. It's like they are unable to filter out every little thing that is going on around them and focus in on what is being taught. In my experience, most kids with ADHD are average or above average in intelligence. Yet some parents become indignant when ADHD is suggested. I often hear that the child has "no trouble focusing at home" one on one. Which is just the point. In a classroom setting the child must contend with 25 other children. It shouldn't be a stigma. It's just a disorder which can be treated.

  • lewisk By lewisk
    07.24.07  

    I am a classroom teacher. I believe parents should be aware of signs. However, I do not think that all students that are said to have ADHD or ADD do. At times I feel it is over diagonised. Depending on the serverity of the ADHD or ADD I would hold off on meds and try other routes first. Students need to learn not to use it as an excuse or a crutch and learn to cope. Whenever a parent questions me about their child have one of these I recommand them take them to the doctor. I can not make judgement of if they do or don;t have it. I believe that more than just a questionair needs to be filled out before meds are started. There are many side effects to the meds. Education of parents and teachers are importnat for the well fair of all students.!!!!!

  • minari By minari
    08.03.07  

    Meds are not a panacea; drugging someone to make them fit into a box is not a "success". If they were alive now, we would have diagnosed Einstein, Edison, and the like as ADD/ADHD. The most important skills in life are the capacity to cope and problem solve. Telling people to look to a pill to make it all better without trying to help themselves only makes them feel inept. That's not to say there isn't a place for meds. But as someone who is probably ADD and will be all of my life -- I've never and never will take anything to correct something that can be behaviorally managed on my own.

  • Betty2 By Betty2
    08.12.07  

    My sister is raising 3 GREAT Grand children. My sister is 65 yrs old...and for 3 years *begged* for help for the two older children (boy 8/girl 6) who were WAY out of control for children so young!

    The Doctor agreed they were ADHD, but said he couldn't do anything unless the school documented their behavior. The school in turn said they couldn't do anything without a Doctors approval for intervention.

    My sister was at her wits end with the *vicious circle* of bureaCRAP, and she went out on her own, and found a mental health clinic FOR children with ADHD...and she wasn't in the building 5 minutes...before the DOCTOR asked her WHY she waited so long to get help for the kids! When she told the Doctor what she had been through...he took *charge* of the situation, and through medication AND weekly counseling...BOTH children have improved 100%!

    The most *major* thing teachers & parents can do...is PAY ATTENTION, LISTEN & HEAR when the *possibility* of ADHA/ADD arise...whether at home or in school! WHO knows their child better than a parent, secondly a teacher.

    Stop the vicious cycle that my sister went through trying to get help for children! WHAT does it hurt to CHECK it out, even if to RULE it out??? It's better to be safe than sorry!

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