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Do ADHD Symptoms Vary With Gender?

Mary-Lauren O’Crowley, MA, NCC, LPC

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common psychological disorders. This condition is highly recognizable in childhood but may also be diagnosed in adulthood. ADHD is also linked with other personality traits such as perfectionism and obsession. But the main question remains: Do the symptoms of ADHD vary with Gender? This article will share the different symptoms of ADHD concerning males and females.

What Is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that triggers hyperactivity and disturbed behavior in the individual. The three key symptoms of ADHD are difficulty learning, restlessness, and disorganized thinking. In many children, the disease shows its signs before the age of seven, but some individuals remain undiagnosed until they reach adulthood.

Do the Symptoms of ADHD Vary?

There is a significant difference in the symptoms of ADHD in females and males. The latter also affects the diagnostic criteria and treatment of these psychological disorders. The parent of a child with ADHD would likely benefit from learning about all of the potential signs independent of sex. Parents should not assume that the features of ADHD remain the same in siblings. If two siblings have ADHD, they may represent different symptoms of the disorder and may respond differently to the various types of therapies.

What are the Symptoms of ADHD in Girls?

Females only make up 25% of the total patients with ADHD, but this is not because they are less prone to the disorder. The symptoms of ADHD in females are more complex and may fail to be diagnosed or even misdiagnosed due to their subtle nature. The characteristic of ADHD in females may include the following:

  • Low attention span/ difficulty concentrating 
  • Low self-esteem
  • Indecisiveness 
  • Overspending
  • Difficulty maintaining a social life in school and personal relationships
  • Excessive daydreaming 
  • Tendency to talk excessively 

What are the Symptoms of ADHD in Boys?

The male sex is three times more prone to develop ADHD in childhood. They also tend to show more noticeable signs. 

The symptoms of ADHD in males are:

  • Impulsiveness 
  • Physical aggression and violent behavior
  • Fidgeting or excessive movement 
  • Bouts of laughter or mania
  • Interrupting other people’s conversations

The symptoms of ADHD in boys and girls vary, but treatment is important to restore functioning and quality of life. This difference in symptoms makes females more prone to underdiagnosis. What’s more, their symptoms may be attributed to an alternate mental health disorder. Proper diagnosis is paramount to proper treatment. 

Treatment Options for ADHD: 

While treatment options vary, a multimodal approach tends to be the most effective in the treatment of ADHD. Behavioral therapy can be utilized in helping the child or adult learn to cope with externalized behaviors such as fidgeting and aggression. Therapy can also be used to address organization and communication. When treating a child or adolescent with ADHD, it is also important to include the parents, as the parents can help support the child while encouraging coping skills. Medications can also be utilized to manage symptoms of ADHD. These include SSRIs, stimulants, and even antihypertensive drugs. When seeking treatment, it is important to note that no one intervention will be adequate for all. It may take time and trial and error to find the proper treatment protocol. 

If you or someone you know is struggling to manage their ADHD symptoms, please reach out to the intake specialists at Symmetry Counseling to get paired with a counselor, and discover how therapy in Chicago can help! 


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