ADHD in Girls


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in girls is often misdiagnosed, potentially leading to mental health issues later in adulthood.  Girls with ADHD often present the condition differently than boys, which can lead to potentially missing the diagnosis.

“Almost every year in the [report card] comments, regardless of the subject, it would say Anna needs to focus more, she has trouble paying attention.” - Anna, 17-year-old high school student in Toronto with ADHD 


According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, boys are three to four times more likely to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder than girls.

Increasingly doctors and researchers who study the condition believe those numbers can mean girls are being underdiagnosed with ADHD or misdiagnosed altogether, because ADHD can look so very different in girls than it does in boys.  What’s more important, is that mental health experts say misdiagnosing or missing an appropriate diagnosis of ADHD in girls can lead to further mental health issues in adulthood.

Listen to an episode of CBC’s The Current discuss this issue by clicking here.





Depression is more than just sadness.  People with depression may experience a lack of interest and pleasure in daily activities, significant weight loss or weight gain, insomnia or excessive sleeping, lack of energy, inability to concentrate, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

Depression is a very common mental health issue, but fortunately, depression is treatable.  A combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy can help ensure recovery.


What You Can Do In The Meantime

Social isolation increases the risk of depression; however, spending too much time discussing problems with friends could actually increase depression as well.

Exercise is an effective, cost-effective treatment for depression and may help in the treatment of other mental disorders.

Getting Help

If you’re struggling to get by day to day, finding a therapist can seem like an overwhelming challenge.  If you are ready to take the next step forward in your life, finding the right person to support you can make all the difference.

Depression is a real illness and carries with it a high cost in terms of relationship problems, family suffering, and lost work productivity.
Nevertheless, depression is a highly treatable illness through psychotherapy, increasing coping skills, medication, and cognitive-behavioural techniques.

Fear of Recovery: Getting Better Can Bring on Anxiety

It came up in a conversation I had recently that with depressionbipolar disorder, or other longstanding mental illness, feeling better, or “good,” may feel alien and uncomfortable.  At least at first.  For this reason some of us have an underlying fear of getting better, a fear of recovery.  How can this be?  Isn’t that the ultimate goal, to feel better?

First, you have to remind yourself that fears are feelings, surrounded by unhelpful thoughts; they are not facts.  That takes some of the power away from them.  You can learn to manage your feelings of fear of getting better just as any other feelings in your life.  As you do so, pay attention to the strong effects of fear, as it can get in the way of your recovery.

When you are immersed in an illness like depression or bipolar disorder for a long time, the illness causes you to have a view of yourself and adopt certain behaviors that then become familiar.  It becomes a sense of “normal,” where you know how to do “that.”  Feeling “good” is new and different and may feel uncomfortable at first.  You are not used to it and may feel anxious or irritable.  The depressed brain sees feeling good as different and “not right” so the tendency is to go back—back to the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of depression or anxiety.  Feeling depressed may feel safer and more comfortable than risking the new territory of wellness, which has a new set of feelings, thoughts, behaviors and expectations.   But wait, let’s think about this for a minute.

What exactly is recovery?  One way to think about it is that recovery is the ongoing process of gaining control over your life after receiving a psychiatric diagnosis and all losses associated with that diagnosis, such as the loss of friendships or financial savings.  Recovery has been defined by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential” (SAMHSA, 2011).  This implies that recovery is something do-able, an ongoing process where you have a say in defining what your own improvement will look like and be.  This is good.

Recovery also means leaving the familiar illness and “life as you know it now” behind, venturing into the world of wellness that is uncertain and unfamiliar to you.  That can be scary.  You might feel anxious, irritable, feel like retreating back to your old depressed self.   You don’t know what to expect, especially if you’ve had trouble remembering what you were like before the depression began.  So some people may feel more comfortable keeping things as they are, staying with the familiar.  I urge you not to do this.

When depression symptoms improve or go away, some might fear that you’d be leaving a hole in the way you think and act and view the world, believing that you won’t know how to course through life in any different way.  You will, though, because along the way you will have learned to replace the depression symptoms with a more positive view of yourself and the world, and then you can approach life more confidently.

It takes a lot of work to get better.  There is major effort required, and energy you feel you may not always have.  So you have to push yourself, push yourself beyond this, and eventually you will adjust to the idea of feeling better.  After all, this is your ultimate goal.  Don’t give up on yourself!

Here are some easy steps to help you better recognize your fears and address them.  Write your answers down on a piece of paper and think about it for a little while…

  • Identify your fear
  • Think about how it makes you feel (afraid, anxious, etc.)
  • What are the thoughts you have associated with your fear?
  • What are the benefits of staying in your old comfort zone?
  • What are the costs of staying in your old comfort zone?
  • Identify a few small steps to help you confront these feelings and negative thoughts
  • Identify the support people you need to help you face your fear
  • Begin with a few of the small steps you just identified