How does ADHD affect young women in high school?

Teenage girls with ADHD are more likely to: struggle with social, attentional, and organizational difficulties; have poorer self-concept; experience more psychological distress and impairment; and feel less in control of their lives.

“ADHD Statistics”–

What is ADHD?

According to the DSM-5 the official definition of ADHD is “A persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.” ADHD affects about 9.4% of children between the ages of 2-17. It is also the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. At least 1 in five students with ADHD do not get the proper school-based services nessessary.   

What is the difference in boys vs girls?

This is where the stereotypes typically come into play. The classic ADHD stereotype is little boys who bounce off of the walls. While in some cases this is true, most people who have ADHD are different. Girls with ADHD tend to have problems with social, attentional, and orginizational difficulties. They also, especially with teens, have poorer self esteem and more pyschological distress and impairment. Girls with ADHD are often diagnosed later in life because their symtoms are not what people typically think of as ADHD. A perfect example of the difference of boys vs. girls is this:

“A male and female student with ADHD are assigned a long-term project. They each put off the work for weeks. Then, the night before the project is due, each remembers the deadline. Rather than attempt to get the work done, the boy decides to watch back-to-back episodes of SpongeBob. Meanwhile, the girl freaks out and tries to make a perfect project overnight. (Perfectionism is another common behavior in ADHD girls.) She demands that her mother help her while she stays up until 1 a.m. to finish her work. When she hands in the assignment the next day, the teacher has no clue that it was done at the last minute.”

How does having ADHD affect a teen girl?

This woman talks about why it’s difficult to recognize the symptoms for girls

Being a teenage girl in high school with ADHD can really affect most aspects of your day. When you have ADHD and you don’t know it yet it feels like you keep putting in the work and yet there seem to be no results. During class it can feel that as much as you want to pay attention and focus, you just can’t. Even something as simple as a conversation you can feel that it is impossible to pay attention. This is why a lot of girls who have ADHD also have depression and axienty. Trying your very best and getting mediocre results can lead to poor self esteem and self worth. 50% fewer girls are sent in for an evaluation for ADHD than boys which means that a lot of them will fall through the cracks and just continue to struggle. A girl in highschool who has ADHD will struggle with deadlines and procrastination, even with weeks warning in advance that something is due. When young women are officially diagnosed with ADHD they are able to lift off the hurtful labels that they’ve been told and can start to work their way to getting better.


What I think is the hardest thing about being a teenager with ADHD and no diagnosis, or even with one, is being told that you are just not trying hard enough. Because a lot of teenage girls with ADHD are not high energy or behave like a teenage boy, it’s easier to just tell that that they need to put in more effort. You are just constantly putting in the work and have no results to prove it. This will really degrade peoples self-esteem and worth, especially a teenage girl. 

What can you do if you think you have ADHD

I would recommend that you research ADHD and speak to a professional (maybe a guidence counselor or a therapist). Your guidence counselor or therapist can then bring it up with your parents and you can make a plan of what to do next. You can also just go straight into an evaluation. This will tell you right away if you have ADHD or not. If you are diagnosed then there are different treatment options availible that I would speak to the person who diagnosed you about. 

This is the story of Jessica Mccabe


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  1. April 23, 2020 by Natalia

    I think that this is a really great project, because to be honest, ADHD in girls is not talked about enough. When I imagine someone with ADHD, it’s usually a boy bouncing off the walls, when in reality, there are many more symptoms than that, and obviously boys are not the only ones who have ADHD. I wonder why symptoms express themselves differently in boys than in girls; is it because of biology, societal expectations, or a combination? When are people usually diagnosed and do symptoms get worse with puberty? Overall, I think that you presented a lot of really great information and I loved that you used so many videos and images!

  2. April 26, 2020 by Samantha

    It was really helpful to hear about how ADHD is different between girls and boys. Spreading awareness is super important, and I wish more people could learn about this early on! I liked the videos you used, especially since they can be shared with other people in the community to help spread the word. Great job!

  3. April 26, 2020 by Paige Wheeler

    Wow, I really love this! I had no idea the difference that sex can make in ADHD. Thank you for educating me on that!

  4. April 26, 2020 by Nikhita Toleti

    Hey Jadyn!
    I found this project to be amazing and very informational! Thank you so much for teaching me more about ADHD. One thing that I never knew is that the symptoms can very depending on the sex of the person. I think that this is so interesting, and very good to know. I think that this topic is not talked about enough and more people should know about it. A lot of people overlook their mental health issues and oftentimes assume that there is nothing wrong, but they need help. Your presentation shows that its good to talk to someone and get the help you need. I hope that more people learn about this topic, and your presentation was so good!

  5. April 27, 2020 by Sasha F Zitter

    HI Jayden!
    I really like how you focused particularly on girls in this presentation, as most ADHD-focused projects tend to highlight how it affects boys (hyperactivity, recklessness, etc.). Many people don’t understand that girls can become very anxious or socially isolated because of it. I wonder, how would you recommend that girls who experience ADHD combat that anxiety? What is the best way to get through it?

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