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Attention deficit disorder affects millions of children and teens, and it typically goes into adulthood. This chronic condition can cause a variety of symptoms that can impact the patient's life. The symptoms of attention deficit disorder in teenage girls are similar to those that affect boys, but there are some differences. It is important to know the differences, especially when trying to help a teenage girl who is suspected to suffer from this condition.
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Inattention is something many teenage girls with this disorder struggle with. The teenage girl may often have difficulty concentrating and paying attention. She is often unable to pay adequate attention to details or she may make careless mistakes with the activities she participates in or her school work.
Sustaining attention and maintaining focus during play or tasks can be difficult for a teen girl with this disorder. Even when being directly spoken to, she may appear as though she is not listening or paying attention. She may also be distracted easily and may not stick with activities or projects for long.
Following through on instructions is often difficult, and she usually fails to complete her chores, schoolwork, or other tasks. She may also have difficulty organizing activities or tasks. Homework, schoolwork, or other activities or tasks that require sustained mental effort may be disliked or avoided by her.
She may often be forgetful. She may forget deadlines or when to take a medication. She may frequently lose necessary items, such as pencils, tools, keys, or books.
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Impulsiveness and Hyperactivity
Impulsive and hyperactive behaviors are common in teen girls with this disorder. A typical affected girl will squirm or fidget frequently. She may talk excessively and always seem to be on the go.
She may often get up from her seat even though she is expected to remain seated. If she is unable to get up, she may become impatient. She may run a lot, even in situations and at times where it is inappropriate. She may feel constantly restless.
She may have difficulty completing tasks quietly or just sitting quietly. She may also have difficulty waiting her turn in line, in school, or in other situations where she must wait.
She often intrudes on or interrupts others' activities or conversations. She may blurt out answers before the question has been completely asked.
This is where the symptoms of attention deficit in teenage girls differs from boys. Key differences include:
- Girls tend to be inattentive, where boys are more likely to be hyperactive.
- Boys' behavior is often more noticeable than behavior in girls because boys are usually less compliant with adults and teachers.
- Inattentive boys tend to fiddle or play aimlessly, but girls tend to often daydream and have difficulty paying attention.
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When Symptoms Warrant a Trip to the Doctor
There are certain factors that warrant a trip to the doctor for suspected attention deficit disorder. Such factors include:
- The behaviors above persisting for six months or more.
- She is regularly disruptive in school or during other activities.
- Her behavior occurs in more than one environment.
- Her behavior is causing problems in her relationships.
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MayoClinic.com. (2009). Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children. Retrieved on December 20, 2010 from MayoClinic.com: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/adhd/DS00275
TeensHealth from Nemours. (2010). ADHD. Retrieved on December 20, 2010 from TeensHealth from Nemours: http://kidshealth.org/teen/school_jobs/school/adhd.html
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