Is ADHD different for girls?

Females suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may be going under diagnosed compared to their male counterparts.  Here’s some reasons why:


  • one of three types of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder presents as difficulty paying attention to detail, difficulties listening, difficulties staying on track and being forgetful to name a few symptoms. Girls might be at a higher risk for this type of ADHD.

Brain development:

  • girls and boys brains develop at different rates and trajectories.  Onset of various disorders such as ADHD can be different.

If typical distributive behaviours often characterized by other types of ADHD (Hyperactive-Impulsive Type and or Combined Type) are not present, it usually doesn’t’ trigger the chain of events for adequate screening / diagnosis and treatment.

iStock_000019491398_FullSo what might happen if such a disorder goes untreated or even misdiagnosed?

In a recent interview with Dr. Doron Almagor, (child and adolescent psychiatrist and chair of the Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance) there is a 1:3 up to 1:4 ratio of male: female attention deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnosis.  So if females are going undiagnosed what are the consequences?

Corollary conditions such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse and self harm (ie cutting and eating disorders) may originate as a consequence to the internalized conflict experienced by females suffering with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Effects to her self esteem and competence might be put forth on a trajectory of  a life with many struggles, poor choices and high risk behaviour.  Often these behaviours cannot be treated successfully without affecting the more root concern.

Often people suffering from the Inattentive ADHD are labeled as lazy and just not willing to push hard or work hard.   This can have devastating effects on self esteem. In order to help, early and correct diagnosis is required so that treatment can most effective.


Treatment is best when its an integrative approach that includes:

If you think you might be suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, please consult your health care provider as soon as possible.

Dr. Sarah Kent

Sarah Kent Naturmend Naturopathic DoctorDr. Sarah Kent is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor specializing in your health.  She blends traditional knowledge with current scientific understanding to generate wellness within her patients. She has received specialized training in naturopathic sports medicine, applying the principles and tools of naturopathic care in treating athletes.



CBC ©2016 CBC/Radio-Canada.March 1st
Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on /2, 15 1© 2015 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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