Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Not a Disease of Boyhood: ‘Girls who are only dreamy and distracted, often go unnoticed’

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – full-blown ADHD – is a developmental disorder whose main characteristics are hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Not everyone with ADHD has the same symptoms. Some may have several characteristics, others only have, for example, problems with attention and organization. Amber (22) I was diagnosed with ADHD in November 2021. “If I had known earlier, I might have been on the right track with my studies and better mental health,” she says.


“I’ve always struggled with being impulsive and controlling my emotions,” Amber says. “It wasn’t easy for me in school because of that. My grades were good in high school, but college was a disaster. I couldn’t digest the big lumps of material, I couldn’t concentrate and had little time for each exam. Plus, I struggled with A lot of stress, I had trouble sleeping and I had some kind of inner turmoil constantly.So I decided to talk to a psychiatrist. I thought I had a mental problem that made my studies very difficult. But then I met a girl who was recently diagnosed with ADHD. Her symptoms were suspiciously similar to mine and then the exchange rate went down.”

“I’ve never thought about ADHD because I think of hyperactive men who can’t control themselves. I talked to my psychiatrist about my concerns and then got myself tested for ADHD at Tommy Therapeutics. What turned out? I was I’ve been living with this disorder for years, without knowing it. My parents were surprised at first, because our family is crowded by nature. When they see me spontaneously dancing in the kitchen now, they don’t understand why they never thought of ADHD before. (He laughs)

There is no adolescent behavior

“I still regret finding out so late. My studies – I’m in my first year again – and so did my mental health. I’ve always felt stupid and underperformed because I didn’t know how to deal with this disorder. Others described me as lazy, which left It took a toll on my confidence. I also suffer from performance anxiety, hyperventilation and a huge amount of stress. If I had known earlier that I had ADHD, I probably wouldn’t have been so hard on myself. Then at least I knew what it was and could handle it. Better “.

“ADHD is not only negative, there are also positive characteristics associated with it. For example, my spontaneity makes a lot of people laugh. I think outside the box, allowing me to be creative. Sometimes this fits with school assignments. Often I notice the little things too, because I get easily distracted. It’s annoying when I study, but I think that’s a great feature in everyday life.”

more attention

“I am currently attending group sessions at KU Leuven for ADHD. There I learn to plan and get inspiration from other people’s stories. I feel less lonely, because in that group there are many women diagnosed at a later age. I also take medications that make me less distracted while Study. It’s not a magic cure, but it does calm me down.”

“In my opinion, more attention should be paid to ADHD in the education system. In primary school, all my reports said that I had problems with other children, but they were not discussed in more detail. A good friend of mine is a teacher himself and he says that He gets such a stereotypical view of what he is taught ADHD. I’m sorry about that. He is more than just a hyperactive child: inattention, tardiness, and absence of mind are also signs of ADHD. Elementary school is perfect for noticing that, because they are in High school students easily associate these characteristics with adolescent behavior.

man vs woman

According to ZitStil Center psychologist Katrien Boone, the fact that women have ADHD less or are at a later age is partly due to how the criteria for ADHD diagnoses were set earlier.

“ADHD does not always manifest itself in the same way,” she says. “The type that primarily has problems with attention and regulation is also widely referred to as ADD, but scientifically we always talk about ADHD, the absent picture. This type is more common in women than in men. Attention issues are often discussed, especially among young girls.

“Why is this? This is due to the fact that earlier the diagnostic criteria were set for boys aged six to twelve, the restless and hyperactive type in particular received all the attention. Girls who are bothered only by the dreamer and the absent-minded, often They go unnoticed. People don’t question it, certainly not when school results are good. The disruptive behavior of ADHD is often emphasized in the media.”

“This does not mean that symptoms are always different in men and women,” Boone continues. “Men can also have problems with planning and organization, and women in turn can suffer from hyperactivity and impulsivity. Attention and organization skills become more important in adulthood anyway. The stress of multitasking is still greater for women and even for them this can lead to hard situation “.


“When women are diagnosed with ADHD too late or not at all, they are at greater risk of experiencing problems both in their career (at school) and later in life. This can have a huge impact on their self-image. “I can’t do that, I’m the stupid guy in the company” are examples of ideas that can have the upper hand. Because of this self-stigma, they learn not to value their abilities. In addition, they do not receive proper support or guidance, because their limitations are not recognized out. So the chance of failure is greater and it can lead to other problems like anxiety and mood problems.”

“I am noticing that schools are catching up. Health care professionals in education are more informed. It is now known that ADHD is not only associated with psychomotor insomnia, but also mental retardation and problems with attention and organization. But in addition to school, it is important for parents to be aware of this as well. If the teacher indicates that your child is retarded or sloppy, he should carefully ask himself. What do you notice about our child that makes you make that statement? Do we notice this also at home and in what situations? That way you can better assess what is going on and take action.”

More information about ADHD can be found on the ZitStil Center website.

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