The Current

ADHD in girls often misdiagnosed, leading to mental health issues in adulthood

While ADHD has long been portrayed as a disorder afflicting hyperactive boys who have trouble sitting still, doctors are learning more about the way it manifests in females — and why so many girls and women with the disorder go undiagnosed.
Girls with the disorder ADHD often present the condition differently than in boys and leads missing a diagnosis. (amenclinicsphotos/Flickr cc)
Almost every year in the [report card] comments, regardless of the subject, it would say Anna needs to focus more, she has trouble paying attention.- Anna, 17-year-old high school student in Toronto with ADHD 

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According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, boys are three to four times more likely to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder than girls

But increasingly doctors and researchers who study the condition believe those numbers can mean girls are being underdiagnosed with ADHD or misdiagnosed altogether. That's because ADHD can look very different in girls than it does in boys.

And mental health experts say misdiagnosing or missing ADHD in girls can lead to mental health issues in adulthood. 

Guests in this segment:

  • Dr. Doron Almagor, child and adolescent psychiatrist and chair of the Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance.
  • Katherine Ellison, diagnosed with ADHD when she was 48. She's a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has authored three books on ADHD. 

Do you know a girl or woman who has struggled with misdiagnosed ADHD? 

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This segment was produced by The Current's Catherine Kalbfleisch and Willow Smith.