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Why is ADHD more common in boys?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
You may wonder why boys are three times more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than girls. One reason that boys are labeled with ADHD is because of the symptoms they display. Boys with ADHD are more likely to act out. They tend to be more hyperactive than girls, causing problems at home and in the classroom. As a result, boys are sent for ADHD diagnosis and treatment.

Girls with ADHD tend to be overlooked. As they enter their teenage years, depression, anxiety, and panic disorders emerge. They start to abuse drugs and alcohol. Yet, ADHD treatments could still be helpful for teenage girls. Screening tools need to address these gender differences so both boys and girls with ADHD get the treatment they need.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is more common in boys, because it's believed that people with ADHD have a problem with a gene on the X chromosome. Women (who have two Xs) have a back-up system that might be able to handle the malfunction that leads to ADHD, whereas men have an X and a Y chromosome and therefore no back-up system.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.