Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hormones and ADHD in Women

“I’m 43 and since the “flashes” began, my ADHD symptoms are so much worse.” … I’m a 56 year old woman with ADHD on Ritalin and for the last few years my medication does not seem to be working as well as it did several years ago.” … “I’m 53 and seem to have more problems with depression and ADHD now that I am entering menopause.”
English: Symptoms of ADHD described by the lit...
ADHD Symptoms
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Women with ADHD need to be aware of several perimenopausal and menopausal issues. First, menopause comes with a whole host of symptoms including memory problems and mood changes, in addition to the hot flashes, insomnia, etc. Women entering menopause frequently complain of difficulty with short-term verbal memory, word retrieval, and mental clarity. These symptoms are now thought to relate to decreasing estrogen levels that affect the brain. As a woman with ADHD, you need to work with a physician who is aware of the interaction between ADHD symptoms and estrogen levels.

Perimenopause is also a time associated with mood changes and the onset of depression in some women who have had no previous history of the disorder. These women report feeling sad, irritable, tired, and worried, as well as having difficulty sleeping. This depression and the cognitive deficits associated with decreasing levels of estrogen that occur as a woman enters menopause, combined with ADHD symptoms may cause a woman with ADHD to have difficulty coping her ADHD symptoms as well as she was previously. She may find herself becoming less functional as she enters this phase of her life. I find this is often the reason why a woman seeks help for her ADHD for the first time in her late 30s, 40s, and 50s. At that time, she may present to a physician with full-blown ADHD or a worsening case, if they have been diagnosed previously.

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