Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in girls: epidemiology and management

CNS Drugs. 2006;20(2):107-23. doi: 10.2165/00023210-200620020-00003.


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in girls is a topic of growing research and clinical interest. For many years, girls with ADHD have been ignored and overshadowed by hyperkinetic and impulsive boys, but they are now attracting interest in an effort to understand the similarities and differences in the prevalence, symptoms, familial risk, comorbidities and treatment of ADHD in the two sexes. A review of past and current literature finds that the symptoms of ADHD are not sex specific, but that identification of girls with ADHD is hampered by parental and teacher bias, and confusion. Girls are more likely to be inattentive without being hyperactive or impulsive, compared with boys. Girls and boys share the same familial risk patterns, as well as similar, although not identical, comorbidity or impairment patterns. The risk of non-treatment is as great in girls as it is in boys; up to 70-80% of identified children will have persistent symptoms and impairment that extends into adolescence and adulthood. Treatment modalities are equally effective in girls and boys. Stimulants, non-stimulants and behavioural modalities are the mainstays of effective treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / etiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / genetics
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Sex Ratio
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome