ADHD is the acronym used in English to refer to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The condition deprives children of the ability to focus and pay attention to others. According to specialized studies, those affected by ADHD are nervous and have less activity in the areas of the brain that control attention.
ADHD in girls - more difficult to diagnose
The World Health Organization and the National Institute of Statistics estimate that in our country there are 220,000 children suffering from attention deficit disorder (ADD), with or without the hyperactivity component (ADHD). As a percentage, this figure is equal to 5% of the total number of children in Romania.
It is not yet known what causes this disorder, but more and more experts believe it is genetic in nature. According to statistics, the number of boys diagnosed with ADHD is 3 times higher than that of girls. However, this is not due to the greater predisposition among boys, but the difficulty of correctly diagnosing ADHD in girls. In addition, specific therapy seems to help boys more than girls.
ADHD specialists explain where this diagnostic problem comes from. It seems that of the 3 symptoms specific to this condition - namely hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention, the first two manifest mainly in boys, and much less in girls. Boys are hyperactive and impulsive, manifesting behavioral disorders, while girls cannot pay attention to others, they are dreamy and seemingly oblivious and disordered.
In other words, ADHD manifests itself differently in the two sexes from a symptomatic point of view. A possible explanation could be the fact that in the body of the boys there are higher concentrations of testosterone, the hormone that accentuates the male sexual characteristics and the aggressiveness component.
ADHD, a disease with many girls
As a parent or teacher, it is important to know that ADHD has three forms of manifestation:
1. The combined type: it is the most common form of ADHD and is characterized by lack of concentration, hyperactivity and impulsivity. It is manifested in both girls and boys.
2. Hyperactive / impulsive type: it makes the child nervous, extremely agitated, restless, unsteady, unable to control his impulses or stay in place. Such behavior disturbs both the class and the family, when deciding to go on a trip or go out to a movie or restaurant, in the city. The child with hyperactive / impulsive ADHD cries easily, jumps and leaves his place when he should be quiet. He has no patience, answers unkindly, and rushes in front of the other children when he has to wait for something. This type of ADHD is more common in boys.
3. Inattentive type or attention deficit disorder (ADD): This is the characteristic of children who have concentration problems. The hyperactivity component is missing in this case.
It manifests mainly in girls, lacking the ability to pay attention to details and making them prone to disorder. Girls with attention deficit lack the ability to organize objects from the outside environment.
Specific symptoms of ADD / ADHD in girls
A girl diagnosed with ADD / ADHD is rather inattentive and absent, than hyperactive or impulsive. Here are some symptoms that should give you some thought:
- the child has difficulty memorizing;
- can be easily distracted;
- he frequently loses his things;
- is disorganized;
- generally has poor results in teaching;
- has a low ability to focus attention;
- is described as "airy" and inattentive;
- he is to do his homework, due to the fact that he has to follow many steps, until he completes an action;
- often forgets things at school;
- her room is always messy;
- it is hard to concentrate on games or other activities, except when playing a video game (video games are a continuous source of distraction for a child with ADD / ADHD).
How ADHD manifests in adolescents
Although the exact age at which the first symptoms appear is not established, the data indicate that this disorder is most often diagnosed after the age of six.
When they reach puberty, girls experience, like all adolescents, age-specific changes. The fluctuations in the levels of female sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) cause a decrease in school performance. Thus, the girls who once excelled at teaching can no longer concentrate, getting even lower grades.
Physical and mental changes can overwhelm the adolescent. Within a menstrual cycle, estrogen levels increase in the first two weeks, until ovulation occurs, after which the decline begins. Instead, the level of progesterone increases, the hormone responsible for fixing a possible pregnancy. When estrogen is low, adolescents face memory difficulties, problems and even depression. Recent research has shown that all these manifestations increase during the period, from ovulation to menstruation.
There is a risk that the medicines used to treat this condition will no longer do so well during the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle. If your little girl is suffering from ADD / ADHD, you can help her keep track of monthly cycles and raise awareness of when the manifestations of the condition become more severe.
Premenstrual syndrome has unpleasant manifestations in adolescents who do not suffer from attention deficit. Moreover, a girl diagnosed with ADD / ADHD should be helped to understand what is happening to her body. Collaboration with a specialist doctor or therapist specializing in ADD / ADHD is very important in this case. Ask for complete and detailed information about treatment options, then try to communicate with your teen. It is very important for her to understand the situation correctly and to collaborate.
ADHD can also negatively influence sports skills. At the same time, communication between adolescents suffering from the same disorder is affected. As a consequence, adolescents can record poor results, culminating in the rejection of the sports team and other extracurricular activities. Other consequences include marginalization or non-acceptance in the group of colleagues.
How ADD / ADHD is treated in girls
Due to the fact that it is more difficult to diagnose, attention deficit in girls is only discovered in adolescence. There is currently no medical or neurological test that could make the diagnosis easier. It is established after a complete history of the patient and observation of the child's behavior and reactions.
The first step in treating the attention deficit in girls is the recognition of the disease and its manifestations. Here are the early signs of the disease:
- lack of skill;
- loss of balance;
- difficult learning of age-specific motor activities.
These changes appear to be based on a communication deficit between the two cerebral hemispheres. Once the diagnosis is made, the treatment is individualized, for each individual patient. Untreated, ADHD predisposes to drug use, tobacco or alcohol abuse, and a higher risk of divorce or unemployment.
There are several treatment options currently available:
- Behavioral therapy - focuses on learning social skills, to help the child interact better with others. To stimulate learning, the therapist calls for a system of praise and rewards, while also setting clear boundaries and rules.
- Drug treatment - aims to control the symptoms of the disease and maintain the chemical balance in the brain.
- Combined therapy - is a combination of medication and behavioral therapy.
Practicing a sport, educating and training the family as well as resorting to psychotherapy, in case of depression or anxiety, also have beneficial effects.
What do you know about ADHD in girls? What advice can you give to parents who have children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder?
Adhd ADHD tags on ADD / ADHD girls