Decades of failing to recognize ADHD in girls has created a “lost generation” of women
Unlike boys, many of whom show hyperactivity, girls’ symptoms veer more toward inattentiveness and disorganization. Girls tend to develop ADHD later than boys. They frequently mask it in an attempt to conform to society’s expectation that they be on the ball and organized. And while some ADHD symptoms can become less intense for boys after they pass through puberty, for many girls, it gets worse.
Girls’ symptoms include: a tendency toward daydreaming, trouble following instructions, making careless mistakes on homework and tests.
Girls with ADHD are significantly more likely to experience major depression, anxiety, and eating disorders than girls without. They tend to have few friendships. As a result of their low self-esteem, they often choose unhealthy relationships in which they may accept punitive criticism and or abuse.
Teachers and parents often miss the warning signs because feeling disorganized or unfocused often leads to depression and anxiety. Failing to properly diagnose the condition, girls miss out on critical academic services and accommodations, as well as therapy and medication. Many girls end up misdiagnosed and treated with anti-anxiety or depression drugs, some of which exacerbate the effects of ADHD.