Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Girls Suffering From ADHD

Researchers in Northern California found that despite the assumptions of many parents and pediatricians, girls do suffer as much from ADHD as boys. By observing girls with ADHD at summer camps, they found that they were much more impaired than their counterparts who don't have ADHD.
In the study done by the University of California-Berkeley, 228 girls, aged six to twelve, were enrolled in day camps held from 1997-1999. Of these girls, 140 had ADHD and were specifically recruited. The others not diagnosed with ADHD were told the camps were for "enrichment" purposes. So researchers could observe their natural behavior, those with ADHD were taken off their medication for the six week camp periods.
Watching the girls closely, they found that those with ADHD were often socially isolated and not interested in following directions. Although the ADHD girls weren't as physically aggressive as boys with ADHD, they would engage in "relational aggression", which includes getting back at someone by excluding them or spreading rumors. The girls also scored as poorly as boys on their abilities to set goals, alter strategies in response to changing situations, and making plans. The findings, that appear in the October issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, suggest that girls and boys are similarly affected by the disorder. Several researchers feel that many affected girls have been left behind because they are less likely to be hyperactive and have more trouble paying attention, thereby becoming less noticeable to teachers and parents. This highlights the importance of teachers, parents, and pediatricians paying attention when girls aren't doing as well as they should be. Also, the longer problems go untreated, the worse kids feel about themselves, the more social difficulties they'll have, and life will become harder for them. Many adult women are discovering that they've had undiagnosed ADHD since childhood. Oftentimes, teachers would say these kids weren't smart. But it's not an issue about intelligence. The issue is about an ability to organize and get it all together.

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