Girls with ADHD can be overlooked as having ADHD and instead may be diagnosed with anxiety or depression. The girls may be better at hiding their symptoms from teachers, parents and classmates especially if they do not have the hyperactive symptoms.
However, these same girls are sad and frustrated at their inner turmoil. It can cause low self-image and anxiety.
Often in my private practice, I see tween and teen girls brought in for anxiety and stress related issues. Once I get to know the child, I often find them expressing anger and frustration on how hard it is to keep from interrupting people, getting into trouble for daydreaming and the constant anxiety to be perfect and knowing they are failing and disappointing their parents and teachers.
A great video on ADHD in girls: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmeE3qTJRUw
Some teens develop coping skills, see a counselor for help or even have a lessening of symptoms as they pass through puberty, which helps with the stress and anxiety. Twenty something’s who still struggle with ADHD symptoms at college or work may take a little longer to mature due to their frontal lobe (the area most influencing ADHD concerns such as task initiation) taking longer to develop then their peers. They may need extra family and professional support a little longer than most.
There are three areas I look for in clients (male and female) when anxiety and meltdowns are a common concern from their parents. These behaviors don’t define just girls with ADHD or even ADHD per se but can be a red flag for me as I get to know my client.
1.“Creative thinker”: Is the child a daydreamer, super creative in solving problems by thinking outside the box, hyper focused, highly intelligent/gifted, losses track of time and forgetful of chores/homework etc. moments after discussing it?
2. “Highly Sensitive”: Is the child anxious in multiple settings, are their feelings easily hurt, do they have sleep difficulties, are they sensitive to noises and textures, are they a perfectionist, and do they have many meltdowns over the course of a week that typically are when their reaction to a problem does not fit the severity of the problem (such as having a complete meltdown when their pencil breaks during homework)?
3. ”Low Awareness”: Is the child unaware of others body language, facial expressions or needs, is the child unaware of time passing when engaged in an activity, can they be insensitive to family and friends, do they interrupt others conversations, and are they inflexible when plans change to the point of melting down, even in public?
These can certainly be signs of immaturity, anxiety, stress, or another diagnosis but put many of these symptoms together in one young girl and often they add up to ADHD. All children should be taken to a Professional Counselor for diagnosing and help with coping skills, whatever their diagnosis.
Professional counselors can help your daughter learn the skills she needs, help her to increase self-esteem and decrease anxiety symptoms as well as work on her personal relationships.
ADDitude Magazine at https://www.additudemag.com
Child Mind Institute at https://childmind.org/topics/disorders/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/
To see more videos from “How to ADHD” YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-nPM1_kSZf91ZGkcgy_95Q