ADHD, Menopause and Overwhelm

ADHD Menopause and Overwhelm | ADHD Menopause and Me

When it all becomes a little too much…

Overwhelm in adults is a common experience characterised by a feeling of being overloaded, unable to cope, and struggling to manage demands. It can manifest in various ways, both mentally and physically, impacting your well-being and daily life. Adults with ADHD and/or women during menopause can find these symptoms particularly prevalent and debilitating.

  • Emotional: Anxiety, irritability, frustration, helplessness, hopelessness, difficulty concentrating, brain fog.
  • Physical: Fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, digestive issues.
  • Behavioural: Avoidance behaviours, procrastination, withdrawal from social interactions, increased substance use.

With Sam still in the throws of emotionally based school avoidance (EBSA) and my having to work 4 days a week, the strain is starting to show. Sam needs constant stimulation and trying to keep him occupied whilst trying to work at the same time is difficult. Topped with other factors such as housework, siblings to care for, friends and family to check in with, cost of living crisis, then it’s no surprise that the overwhelm begins to mount up. But do I feel it more often and harder than most?

The combination of ADHD, menopause, and overwhelm can feel like a triple threat to well-being. It’s completely understandable to feel overwhelmed in this situation, and there are specific challenges each of these factors presents individually and in combination.

  • Difficulty focusing and prioritising tasks, leading to feeling overwhelmed.
  • Impulsivity that might contribute to taking on more than you can handle.
  • Difficulty managing emotions, which can be exacerbated by hormonal changes.
  • Fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones can lead to a range of symptoms like hot flashes, sleep disturbances, mood swings, and brain fog.
  • Changes in body composition, weight gain, and decreased metabolism can contribute to a feeling of losing control, further fueling feelings of overwhelm.
  • Accepting the transition and facing societal pressures around ageing can lead to anxiety, depression, and a loss of identity, exacerbating the feeling of overwhelm.
  • 79% of UK adults feel stressed at least once a month, with 7% feeling stressed every single day. (CIPHR, 2023)
  • 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point in the past year that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. (Mental Health Foundation, 2023)
  • Women are more likely than men to report feeling overwhelmed (81% vs. 67%). (Mental Health Foundation, 2023)

So really it’s no surprise that I feel overwhelmed. I am trying my very best to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Sam has his place guaranteed for Sept ’24 and we are just awaiting details of his transition. So I know I am luckier than a lot of SEND families around the UK right now. Unfortunately, my brain struggles to see past the now. It’s said us ADHDers have two time frames, NOW and NOT NOW.

  • Self-awareness: Understanding how each factor affects you individually and together is crucial.
  • Seek professional support: Consider consulting both a healthcare professional for menopause and a therapist specialising in ADHD for personalised strategies.
  • Manage stress effectively: Practices like mindfulness, meditation, and exercise can help manage emotional fluctuations and improve focus.
  • Prioritise self-care: Ensure adequate sleep, nutritious meals, and regular physical activity to support your physical and mental well-being.
  • Create routines and structure: Develop systems for planning, prioritising, and organising tasks to manage overwhelm.
  • Communicate openly: Talk to loved ones and colleagues about your challenges to seek understanding and support.
  • Join support groups: Connecting with others experiencing similar challenges can provide valuable guidance and community.

It’s funny how the very things which should help us are also the very things we struggle with most (self-care, routines, structure) day in the office tomorrow should hopefully bring a little balance to my week. What do you find works for you when in the midst of it all?


  • You are not alone in this. Many women face similar challenges during menopause, and ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental condition.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but with self-awareness, support, and effective strategies, you can manage these challenges and improve your overall well-being.

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