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Navigating menopause and ADHD

More women are reaching out for help with ADHD, and we have noticed a significant increase in inquiries here at the ADHD Centre. Many of these women are dealing with inattentive ADHD, also known as ADD, and some are looking for support during their menopausal years for menopause and ADHD. 
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Navigating menopause and ADHD

27/09/2023
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More women are reaching out for help with ADHD, and we have noticed a significant increase in inquiries here at the ADHD Centre. Many of these women are dealing with inattentive ADHD, also known as ADD, and some are looking for support during their menopausal years for menopause and ADHD. 

Although there’s less gender bias today when it comes to recognising ADHD, males are still five times more likely to be diagnosed than females. This is partly because girls and women often internalise their symptoms, making them harder to spot, and leading to missed diagnoses. 

Not receiving an ADHD diagnosis early in life can create challenges further down the road. Women, especially as they enter menopause, experience hormonal fluctuations that can amplify ADHD symptoms. 

Leading bodies, such as the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), recognise the importance of understanding ADHD in women. 

We often receive referrals from women over 30 who’ve recently figured out that their symptoms match ADHD. When these women were in school, ADHD, especially the inattentive type, wasn’t widely recognised in girls. Sometimes, women consider ADHD assessments after one of their children or a family member gets diagnosed since ADHD can run in families. 

However, during menopause, some of the menopause symptoms can overlap with ADHD symptoms. It might even feel like your ADHD symptoms are getting worse. It can be quite tricky to tell them apart. 

In our blog, Why Is ADHD Underdiagnosed in Women? , we delve deeper into the reasons behind the gender gap in ADHD diagnoses. We also explore how ADHD can present differently in women at various life stages.

MENOPAUSE AND ADHD

Menopause is a significant life change for women typically occurring between the ages of 45 and 55. It involves hormonal shifts leading to symptoms such as hot flushes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. Interestingly, some women discover they have ADHD during their adult years, often around the time of menopause.

It can be tough to handle both menopause and ADHD together, but with the right support, you can manage your symptoms. 

There are challenges that women, who have ADHD, might face during menopause but in this blog, we outline tips to make this period easier.

UNDERSTANDING MENOPAUSE AND ADHD 

Managing menopause and ADHD can be tough due to overlapping symptoms and their impact on cognitive function. Fluctuating hormone levels can worsen ADHD symptoms, intensifying throughout menopause. 

Some of the symptoms that women with ADHD, going through menopause, might experience are: 

  • Feelings of despair, inadequacy, and overwhelm 
  • Lacking motivation 
  • Disorganised, forgetful, and often late 
  • Being impatient
  • Problems sleeping 
  • Easily losing focus and daydreaming 
  • Eating disorders 
  • Prone to body-focused repetitive behaviours such as skin picking, hair pulling, leg bouncing, nail-biting, or cuticle picking 
  • Shyness due to social anxiety and sensory sensitivities 
  • Being a perfectionist 
  • Difficulty maintaining attention and switching off while others are talking 
  • Comorbid conditions such as depression, anxiety, and OCD are more noticeable than ADHD and are often treated first 
  • Anxiety might manifest physiologically in the form of headaches and/or nausea 
  • Forgetfulness and trouble focusing 
  • Mood swings and feeling emotional 
  • Feeling frustrated and tired

TIPS FOR HANDLING MENOPAUSE AND ADHD

Ask for help. Talk to experts who know that you are going through menopause and have ADHD. They can give you a plan that fits your needs, which might include hormone treatments, medicine, or therapy. 

Some women with ADHD might need medicine to help them feel better. Discuss this with your doctor and understand how it might work during menopause.

You could also try talking to a therapist who can help you learn ways to manage ADHD symptoms and deal with feelings during menopause. They can teach you how to stay focused, and organised, and manage your time better. 

There are lots of ways that you can stay healthy without medical intervention. Exercise, eat well, and make sure you get enough sleep. These things can help with both menopause and ADHD. 

Try things like deep breathing and meditation to relax. Less stress can help make ADHD symptoms and menopause easier to handle. 

Going through menopause usually coincides with a busy lifestyle. Teenage children, aging parents, and holding down a job are stressful enough without adding the complexities of menopause and ADHD. 

ADHD can present differently once a woman reaches mature adulthood. The demands of juggling adult responsibilities can lead to burnout and exhaustion as it all becomes too much to manage. It can be particularly difficult at this point to uncover the ADHD behind the mask and diagnoses of comorbid conditions such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and OCD are common. 

What is not always clear is if these other conditions occur because of untreated ADHD or if they are independent of it. Our blog The tip of the ADHD iceberg – when it’s more than ADHD provides more information about ADHD comorbid conditions. 

Staying organised is important to prevent overwhelm. Use tools like calendars, lists, and reminders to help you remember things and stay on track. This can be useful if you’re forgetful because of the menopause or ADHD. 

The most important thing is don’t be afraid to talk to your friends, family, or support groups about how you feel. They can understand what you’re going through and share helpful ideas. 

Remember that it’s okay to have tough days. Celebrate the things you achieve, even if they seem small, and learn from the times when things don’t go as planned.

YOU CAN DO IT

Although research on the connection between ADHD and menopause is limited, it’s essential to explore how hormonal fluctuations may affect your ADHD symptoms. It’s possible that these fluctuations contribute to an increase in your symptoms. You can find more information on this topic in this article from The Chesapeake Centre. 

Managing both menopause and ADHD may seem challenging, but it’s entirely possible to lead a happy and successful life during this phase of your life. 

With support from professionals, lifestyle adjustments, and effective coping strategies, you can find balance and thrive through the changes of menopause. 

Keep in mind that everyone’s journey is unique, and with patience and effort, you can overcome challenges and emerge stronger and more resilient. 

ADHD SUPPORT 

Our team of experienced clinicians is on hand to provide expert insight, advice, support, and guidance on ADHD. Helping you to best manage and embrace some of the challenges. 

At The ADHD Centre, our team of experts specialise in assessing and treating ADHD in women, offering personalised strategies to help manage symptoms and enhance daily functioning. Take the first step towards a healthier and more balanced life – BOOK an ADHD assessment with us today. 

For more information on how we could help you: 

Call 0800 061 4276

Email enquiries@adhdcentre.co.uk 

Follow us on social media. You can find us on Facebook or Instagram 

FURTHER READING

How does ADHD present in adult women

Female vs male ADHD

Why is ADHD underdiagnosed in women?

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