What type of ADHD is most common in girls?

Young girls can have the "predominantly inattentive" form of ADHD, just like they can have the "predominantly impulsive/hyperactive" and "combined" forms. Unfortunately for young kids with the "predominantly inattentive" type, they will often be missed because they do not have the behavior problems. These are the children that slide by until the schoolwork gets harder and the grades start slipping. If you think your child may have ADHD in any form, talk to your pediatrician.

Dr. Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Practitioner

There are different types of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as varying severities of this disorder. There may be children with ADHD who are inattentive but not hyperactive. This type of ADHD used to be referred to as attention deficit disorder, or ADD.

Many girls with ADHD have inattentiveness only. Even though they may not be impulsive or blurt out in class discussions, the girls may be inattentive and have learning problems because of this behavior.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

A common image of a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a little boy running wild. He can't sit still, won't listen to his teachers, and talks incessantly. But what about a teenage girl who smokes, drinks, is depressed, and struggling in school? Could she have ADHD? She might. 

ADHD often affects boys and girls differently. As you might imagine, boys display the hyperactivity symptoms of ADHD more often than girls. Boys are screened, diagnosed, and treated for ADHD at higher rates than girls. But why does this happen? ADHD may be easier to spot in boys than in girls. Boys have a harder time sitting still in class. They act out more and have higher rates of conduct problems. On the other hand, girls with ADHD tend to internalize their problems. As a result, they find themselves in trouble with drug and alcohol problems as they grow up. They are more likely to have coexisting mental health problems like anxiety and depression. 

Because girls with ADHD are less likely to act out, pay close attention to your child. If she is struggling in school, appears depressed or anxious, or is having other problems with peers, talk to a counselor. She may not necessarily have ADHD. However, a counselor can guide you in how to help her, whether she has ADHD or not.

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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.