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Understanding the Differences of ADHD Symptoms in Boys and Girls

adhd symptoms

ADHD affects millions of children globally, but its symptoms can differ between boys and girls. This means that how it's diagnosed and treated may vary too. It's crucial for parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals to understand these differences to provide the right support.

The Masking Effect: Girls with ADHD

Girls with ADHD often show symptoms that are less obvious than boys. While boys may act out with hyperactivity and impulsivity, girls might be more daydreamy or forgetful. This can make it harder to spot ADHD in girls, leading to possible misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis.

Hyperactivity vs. Inattentiveness: Differences Between Boys and Girls

ADHD is often linked with hyperactive and impulsive behavior, which is more common in boys. Boys with ADHD might fidget, interrupt others, or struggle to stay still. Girls, however, may struggle more with paying attention, remembering things, and staying organized. These differences can affect how they do in school and how they interact with others.

Social Dynamics and Coping Strategies

Girls with ADHD may try to hide their symptoms to fit in socially. They might become perfectionists, try to please others, or avoid social situations altogether. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy or low self-esteem.

Academic Performance and Peer Relationships

Boys with ADHD might get into trouble at school because of disruptive behavior, while girls might quietly struggle with their work. They may find it hard to make friends or maintain friendships because of their symptoms.

Implications for Diagnosis and Treatment

Recognizing how ADHD can look different in boys and girls is essential for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. Healthcare professionals need to consider these differences when evaluating symptoms and deciding on the best course of action. This might involve looking for signs of ADHD in girls that aren't as obvious as in boys.


ADHD affects boys and girls differently, and understanding these differences is key to providing the right support. By recognizing how ADHD symptoms can present differently in girls, we can improve early identification, offer targeted interventions, and help all children with ADHD thrive. Empowering parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals with knowledge about these differences can lead to more accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment, ultimately improving the well-being and success of children with ADHD.


About our Clinical Director Lauren Arnau

nyc adhd child therapist

Lauren Arnau is a child and adolescent therapist (LMHC) in Scarsdale, NY and the Clinical Director at Peaceful Living MHC.


Lauren specializes in children and teens ages 5-21 struggling with anxiety and behavior challenges.

Lauren is trained in the use of EMDRMindfulness and CBT for the relief of stress and anxiety.  She helps adults in these areas as well.


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