Is Menopause Making My ADHD Worse?

Juggling deadlines, keeping track of schedules, and remembering tasks – for some women with ADHD, it’s already a daily juggling act. Then menopause hits, ushering in a wave of hormonal changes that seem to scramble everything further. The question becomes a desperate whisper: am I losing it, or is this just menopause making my ADHD a bigger beast than ever?

My own journey began with no knowledge of either menopause or ADHD believe it or not. I began struggling with menopause symptoms back in my early 40’s. I didn’t know anyone who had or was going through menopause, that spoke about it. It wasn’t till women like Meg Matthews and Davina McCall began speaking openly about what was happening to them that I realised I was in peri-menopause.

As the years went on and the symptoms increased, I began to notice emerging symptoms which could be put down to menopause; but the more I learned about neurodivergence, the more I wondered if it could be that. I searched for connections between ADHD and menopause and struggled to find much research. It took some searching but the connection was there. Finally, everything began to make sense…

Both menopause and ADHD involve fluctuations in brain chemistry, particularly hormones like estrogen and progesterone. These changes can contribute to overlapping symptoms like mood swings, difficulty concentrating, and sleep disruptions.

Some women with ADHD find their symptoms significantly worsen during perimenopause and menopause. This could be due to the hormonal shifts impacting the dopamine and norepinephrine pathways involved in attention and focus.

Women with ADHD may be misdiagnosed with depression or anxiety during menopause due to the shared symptoms. Underdiagnosis of ADHD in women overall further complicates proper treatment.

Studies suggest HRT can alleviate several ADHD symptoms in women experiencing menopause, including improved focus, attention, and executive functioning.

Alongside or instead of HRT, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is highly effective in managing ADHD symptoms, including during menopause. Mindfulness practices and lifestyle changes can also be beneficial.

Both menopause and ADHD can strain relationships due to emotional volatility, communication challenges, and changes in energy levels. Open communication and understanding are crucial for navigating these changes together.

Women experiencing both menopause and ADHD need to be their own advocates. Seek out personalised treatment plans that address your specific needs. This may involve a collaborative approach with doctors, therapists, and other healthcare professionals.

With proper diagnosis, treatment, and support, women with ADHD can navigate menopause successfully and maintain fulfilling lives.

More research is needed to understand the complex interplay between menopause, ADHD, and brain chemistry. This can lead to better diagnostics, treatment options, and support for women in this unique phase of life.

Connecting with other women facing similar challenges can provide strength, understanding, and valuable resources. Online communities and support groups can be a powerful tool for managing both menopause and ADHD.

All our experiences with menopause and ADHD are unique. The above facts provide a general overview. If you are suffering, please seek individual professional guidance for diagnosis and treatment.

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Other articles which may help:

Menopause and ADHD – Balance

ADDitude Magazine

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