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ADHD Symptoms in Teen Girls

By Virginia Franco ; Updated August 14, 2017

Adolescence is a challenging time for many, making the accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment of teen girls with ADHD critical. Unfortunately, girls are often under-diagnosed and misunderstood, in part because the diagnostic criteria for ADHD is primarily aimed at boys, according to Dr. Kathleen Nadeau, a clinical psychologist and member of the Children & Adults with ADHD professional advisory board. Girls with ADHD often behave very different than their male counterparts. Understanding the main symptoms of ADHD in girls can help with proper diagnosis and treatment.

Day Dreaming

Girls with ADHD often appear to be day dreaming quietly, according to the ADDitude Magazine website. A teen girl may likely appear distracted in class, staring out the window while picking her cuticles or twirling her hair.

Difficulty Concentrating

The About our Kids website states that girls with ADHD often have a difficult time concentrating or focusing. In a school or home situation, parents or educators may find that a girl will have trouble following multi-step directions and listening for long periods of time, or struggling to finish a homework assignment or test, despite knowledge of the subject matter. Because many appear shy and studious, it is easy for these girls to fade into the background and go unnoticed. They may appear shy and studious in the classroom and don’t often stand out to teachers.


Similar to boys with ADHD, teen girls with this condition are often highly disorganized and/or messy, according to the Scholastic website. Messy desks or backpacks, or struggles with following classroom or home routines with regards to keeping track of papers and school supplies, are manifestations of this symptom. Although all teens are sloppy from time to time, girls and boys with ADHD are repeatedly messy to the point where it interferes with daily activities and functioning.

Communication Skills

As opposed to ADHD boys who are restless physically, ADHD girls are restless verbally. They often engage in nonstop talking, and seem unable to stop and/or interrupt others. Unfortunately, these communication skills affect friendships and hurt ADHD girls socially. Others can perceive them as bossy and dominant in conversations, which can greatly hurt their self-esteem.

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