With the number of girls diagnosed increasing more and more, ADHD is not a boy-thing as some were considering it until now.
A new study published Tuesday afternoon in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry revealed an increase with 43 percent in number of children aged 5 to 17 diagnosed with ADHD. It means that in this moment about 12 percent of children in school are suffering from the condition.
Dr. Sean D. Cleary, professor at the George Washington University and leading author of the study says that two subgroups of sufferers are particularly increasing – Hispanics and girls.
ADHD has been observed in children for centuries but it was first described as a condition by Sir George Frederic Still, who is considered the father of British pediatrics, around the 1900’s. But only in 1968 it was recognized as a disorder called “hyperkinetic impulse disorder” by the American Psychological Association. In 1980, with the DSM-III it was given the name of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and only in 1987 it has been named ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, as we still know it today.
Nowadays ADHD is being defined as a behavioral condition which makes sufferers less able to concentrate on everyday requests and routines.
In 2011 in the United States there were about 6.4 million children diagnosed with ADHD, with the boys being 13 percent more likely of being diagnosed than girls.
The new study shows an increase of 55 percent of girls diagnosed with ADHD in the last 8 years, from 4.3 percent to 7.3 percent. Also, in the Hispanic population, it has been shown an increase of 83 percent.
Mainstream clinicians believe there is a gender difference in the way ADHD manifests, with the boys being less able to perform tasks in class and girls being less able to concentrate. However, new relevant data shows that things are not black and white and there is no ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ version of the disorder.
Expecting some exact behavior for boys and girls with ADHD based on our gender stereotypes might lead to misdiagnoses. The same is true for expecting girls with ADHD to behave the same way as boys with ADHD.
However, one important difference is that girls with ADHD are more likely to develop mood disorders, from low self-esteem to anxiety and even depression, being at higher risk to attempt suicide and self harm. But this is just another reason why clinicians shouldn’t be biased about a certain behavior of ADHD and diagnose it in time to prevent all these.
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