• Stacy Zebrick

How does ADHD look different in girls?


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or #ADHD for short has three types: Primarily Hyperactive Presentation or Primarily Inattentive Presentation, or a combination of both. The hyperactive presentation is the more obvious one: always in motion, acts as driven by a motor, lacks impulse control. Inattentive type is harder to see. And it tends to look different in girls.


Sometimes these traits get overlooked like they're personality traits, not ADHD symptoms.



Here are some signs and symptoms to look for with girls:

  • Cries easily

  • Appears withdrawn

  • Daydreaming and in a world of her own

  • Difficulty maintaining focus; easily distracted

  • Disorganized and messy (in her appearance and physical space)

  • Doesn’t appear to be trying

  • Doesn’t seem motivated

  • Forgetful

  • Highly sensitive to noise, fabrics, and emotions

  • Hyper-talkative (always has lots to say, but is not good at listening)

  • Hyperreactivity (exaggerated emotional responses)

  • Looks to be making "careless" mistakes

  • Might often slam her doors shut

  • Often late (poor time management)

  • Problems completing tasks

  • Seems shy

  • Seems to get easily upset

  • Shifting focus from one activity to another

  • Takes time to process information and directions; seems like she doesn't hear you

  • Verbally impulsive; blurts out and interrupts others


Seeking Help


If ADHD is diagnosed, it can be treated and managed. Interventions can be put in place, including behavioral management, organizational strategies, counseling, medication and support.


Simply having the ADHD diagnosis can relieve a girl of a huge burden of guilt and shame. It can also free her from the damaging labels of being “spacey,” “unmotivated,” “stupid,” or “lazy.” She is none of those things; she simply has ADHD. Strategies can be put in place to make life a little easier and her future much brighter. Click here to find out more about diagnosis.

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