It is a common complaint from women going through menopause that they find themselves facing a wide range of emotional and physiological symptoms. Menopausal symptoms typically reported include irritability, moodiness, and overwhelming sadness, not to mention feeling over-fatigued, experiencing memory lapses and poor ability to think clearly. For women already diagnosed with ADHD, they become acutely aware that ADHD symptoms become more pronounced over a period of 10 years, starting in peri-menopause and continuing non-stop into menopause. Hormonal fluctuations do result in intensified ADHD symptoms. For women with undiagnosed ADHD who enter menopause they may find the intensity of the symptoms so great that they seek mental health intervention.
Hormonal Effects of Menopause on ADHD
By the time of menopause, a woman’s estrogen level has dropped by 65% over the course of the prior 10 years. Psych Central reports that decreasing estrogen leads to decreased levels of the “feel good” serotonin and dopamine levels found in the brain chemistry. The drop in estrogen levels can exacerbate ADHD symptoms which can appear suddenly in women in their 30s and 40s as well as in women who have reached menopause. Decreased serotonin levels can lead to a depressed mood, while decreased availability of dopamine directly affects the appearance of increased ADHD symptoms.
Common Challenges of ADHD during Menopause
An insufficient amount of dopamine is a classic sign of ADHD. Additional declines of dopamine levels during the peri-menopause and menopause phases may result in more severe difficulties with concentration, attention and focus. In addition, women may discover that they are having trouble staying organized, managing their time, making thought-out decisions or finding that they become forgetful of even common routine activities and appointments. With peri-menopause starting about 10 years before menopause, it is important for women to know that there is help for their symptoms. Being diagnosed with ADHD opens the door to forming a complete mental health treatment plan that can provide relief.
Treatment Options for ADHD and Menopause
Attitude magazine reports it is important to find an ADHD menopause experienced psychiatrist who is able to set up a successful treatment strategy and make medication adjustments as needed to meet your changing needs through the decades long peri-menopause phase to the menopause stage. Women who experience intense PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) may have undiagnosed ADHD. Receiving a correct comprehensive diagnosis can lighten the monthly depression, anxiety, irritability and “fuzzy headed” feelings that PMS and the pre-menstrual to menstrual phase bring.
Atlanta ADHD Menopause Psychiatrist
Dr. Darvin Hege is the expert when it comes to successful treatment of ADHD and menopause. Call the office for psychiatric treatment that will put your ADHD menopausal symptoms in check.