Teens with ADHD

“Help, Everywhere:” What Teen Girls with ADHD Need Right Now

With the CDC reporting rates of depression, trauma, and bullying at an all-time high for teen girls, ADDitude readers offer ways to support and protect adolescent girls with ADHD.

Young people, teenagers, suffering from psychological diseases, anxiety. Girls and boys sitting sad by the window or wall. Vector illustration
Young people, teenagers, suffering from psychological diseases, anxiety. Girls and boys sitting sad by the window or wall. Vector illustration

The mental health of teen girls in America is in crisis. With rates of depression, suicidality, sexual violence, and bullying at unprecedented highs among teen girls in general — and even higher for teen girls with ADHD — meaningful, comprehensive help is needed, and the sooner the better.

But what does that help look like? We asked ADDitude readers — parents, educators, and clinicians — to tell us what’s needed to support and protect teen girls with ADHD. Here’s what they said.

“There should be more formal instruction in school about the science behind why social media is addictive and suggestions on how to fight it. Teenagers don’t want to listen to their parents, and they won’t actively seek out the information.” —An ADDitude reader

“We need awareness about the symptoms of ADHD in girls that correlate with emotional regulation, rejection sensitivity, low self-esteem, and self-harm. Too many teen girls are being diagnosed with depression and anxiety and prescribed the wrong medications because professionals are still not educated about different presentations of ADHD in teen girls.” —Melissa, New Jersey

“Programs to teach teen girls meditation and mindfulness practices to quiet their minds, pause overthinking, reduce anxiety and build self-confidence.” —Heather, Florida

[Read: ADHD in Women – A Symptom Checklist]

“More thorough IEP meetings are needed to ensure the child’s needs are being advocated for.—Latressa, South Carolina

“By the time girls are diagnosed, there is so much trauma, shame and low self-esteem that it’s an overwhelming challenge. We need to start screening all children for ADHD by kindergarten and once diagnosed, be prepared with the best treatment options.” —Lisa, Arizona

Lowering the cost barrier for ADHD coaching (ideally by making it required for insurance companies to offer coverage).” —Sarah, Maryland

“These girls need to find a community where they experience acceptance — a sense of belonging — and which helps them see their ADHD strengths. They need support groups that share life hacks and celebrate overcoming obstacles.” —Michelle, Mississippi

[Download: Your Free Guide to All the Best Parts of ADHD]

“We must believe their experiences are real and not dismiss them as hormonal or over emotional. What they are going through is important and impactful.” —Carley

“Change the name! The stereotypes and misunderstandings around ADHD are crippling the possibility of care for too many teen girls.” —Sarah, Washington

“Nobody in the school system or the healthcare world educated us about how ADHD affects my daughter’s whole life — not just how well she can focus at school. That needs to change.” —Ann, South Dakota

“The messaging to girls — to all children with ADHD — is that there is something to fix. All of these expectations create unnecessary pressure and the belief that they are not good enough. When children are seen and loved for exactly who they are, then they are more grounded and resilient.” —An ADDitude reader

“Give them visible role models who are thriving with ADHD.” —Marni, Virginia

“There is a protective effect of social support. Teen girls don’t need to have the biggest peer group; they need one real friend who gets them. As a parent, I would move heaven and earth to connect my teen girl with that friend.” —Lauren, Texas

“More robust protections against cyberbullying. Restrictions on social media and requiring companies to redesign their products with the health and welfare of users taking priority.” —Christopher. Oregon

“Don’t make it the kids’ responsibility to seek help, rather place help everywhere so it is easy and normalized for them to opt in as they need.” —Nancy, Maryland

Mental Health in Teen Girls with ADHD: Next Steps

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