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Hormonal Changes Affect Women’s ADHD Symptoms

For women living with ADHD it is an ongoing challenge, not only through the monthly hormonal changes, but through the various life stages as well. With fluctuating hormone levels, ADHD symptoms can be exacerbated, mood swings or depression can occur, or the effect ADHD medication normally has can become ineffective.

Hormonal Changes a Life-Long ADHD Challenge

Finding the right knowledgeable psychiatrist is a choice that can impact you for a life-time. With the average age for initial diagnosis of women with ADHD at 36 to 38 years of age, it is critical for a treatment plan to take into account the hormonal changes that will be occurring over the next 20 to 30 years.

Estrogen and ADHD

For a woman with ADHD it is important to work with a mental health professional who is aware of the interaction between ADHD symptoms and estrogen levels. Looking at a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle, estrogen is at higher levels during the first two weeks and progesterone is higher during the last two weeks.

Estrogen may help ADHD medications work while progesterone may interfere with the effectiveness of those same medications. Due to the changing estrogen levels, the beginning two weeks of the menstrual cycle typically present with less complaints of bothersome symptoms. When the level of estrogen drops and progesterone increases during the last two weeks of the monthly cycle, increased complaints of exasperated symptoms and non-effective medication are often voiced.

Perimenopause and ADHD

Approximately 10 years before the onset of menopause a woman will go through perimenopause. During this extended time period of hormonal changes, the estrogen produced in the body slowly decreases until at the onset of menopause it has decreased by about 65%.

Perimenopause Symptoms Mimic & Worsen ADHD

The following list of symptoms experienced during perimenopause mimic those of ADHD as well as making any original symptoms of ADHD worse. It is thought that many women are diagnosed with ADHD around the time of these life-changes when the symptoms of ADHD combined with the symptoms of perimenopause, and then menopause, send them looking for help.

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Memory lapses
  • Forgetfulness
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty with mental clarity
  • Trouble with word recall or retrieval
  • Difficulty sleeping

Hormonal Changes Continue into Menopause

The depression and cognitive deficits that occur with decreasing levels of estrogen as a woman enters menopause often bring a woman with ADHD to have difficulty with coping with daily life situations. Many women, beginning in their late 30s, often seek help for the first time when hormonal changes combine with ADHD symptoms. Others who have already been diagnosed with ADHD often find themselves with worsening symptoms that become overwhelming.

ADHD Treatment during Hormonal Changes

If you feel life changes are making you feel out of control and unable to cope with even normal daily routines, you may have undiagnosed ADHD. Help is available. For new diagnoses or for treatment adjustments during the years of hormonal changes, call Dr. Hege and regain control over your life once again.

Adults with ADHD Out of Sync with Rest of World

For those adults with ADHD, a common reported problem centers around the struggle with time management. Many with adult ADHD find themselves running late, not getting work done on time, difficulty organizing their time effectively, or just finding themselves out of sync with the rest of the world when it comes to following a routine time table.

Effects of Being Out of Sync with ADHD

Adults with ADHD may find they complete things too fast, making mistakes or leaving the task incomplete in their haste; others lose track of time or mismanage their time and find they end up being late for appointments or task completion. No matter if someone is too fast or too slow they feel a struggle to be in sync with the world around them, often feeling frustrated, anxious, ill-prepared, lagging behind or restless in the process.

Being Out of Sync Part of ADHD Experience

In the paper on adult ADHD written by Mikka Nielsen and recently published in Medical Anthropology, it was concluded that those with ADHD experience a state of desynchronization and inner restlessness with their surroundings and social connections, feeling like they are out of rhythm, out of sync, with the rest of the world.

Examples of Being Out of Sync with ADHD

Some common experiences where time management and feeling out of sync come into play include:

  • Difficulty with predicting or estimating how long a task will take to complete
  • Thinking about the present and not being able to plan effectively for the future
  • Typically running late for appointments or meetings
  • Finding yourself impatient and wanting to move on to the next thing
  • Looking for short-term rewards
  • Difficulty dealing with delayed gratification
  • Following an atypical sleep-wake schedule

Adult ADHD Help Available

If you find yourself constantly out of sync with the clock, schedules, and appointments, or feel scattered and unsure of how to manage and organize your time in a more functional and effective manner, it may be time to seek the help of an experienced specialist. If you are feel that you are letting yourself and others down by your poor time management, or that you do not feel a sense of accomplishment in life, it is time to seek help and treatment.

Local Adult ADHD Psychiatrist

It is time for a change. End the constant struggle. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment today.

Myth and Misconception Behind Psychiatric Sessions

Many people who have never seen a psychiatrist or mental health professional often have misguided perceptions or believe a myth about what to expect. If your idea of what goes on in a psychiatrist’s office comes from what you have seen on soap operas or in the movies you may have a set of expectations that could actually limit the ability of the therapist to do their best for you.

Pre-Appointment Mind Set

While it is important to make that appointment for help with any emotional, psychological or behavioral issues you or a loved one may be having, it is equally important to have an accurate idea of what to expect during your psychiatric session times. Having accurate perceptions in place will allow you to get the most out of each session and facilitate an active one-on-one working relationship where your therapist can develop and implement a successful individualized plan of treatment.

Common Myths about Therapy

Understanding what reality versus a myth is can let you take full benefit from your mental health services. Some of the most common misconceptions are:

  • “Therapy is supposed to make me happy.” While you may feel that you are happier with life and more comfortable overall, the intent of therapy is to assist you in becoming fully functional and connected with family, friends, work situations, school.
  • “I want to be cured in one session.” The entire process of therapy takes time with no quick fixes. Each person is unique with their own needs, perceptions, and motivation for change. The therapist needs to develop an individualized plan, making changes as progress evolves. Many people have more than one issue or concern which may require a higher level of coordination of services, or use of more than one type of medication.
  • “I want to be told what I need to do.” Many people go into a therapy session expecting to be told what to do to change their life or solve their problems. While a mental health professional will explore options, outcomes, or may refer for adjunct or group services, a therapist will guide rather than tell you what you need to do.
  • “Talking to friends and family is just as good as seeing a psychiatrist.” Having a good support base is important when you are going through a rough time, but mental health professionals have the training and experience to understand and treat basic to complex problems. A therapeutic relationship is also confidential, where you can feel free to discuss things you have never been able to talk about before.
  • “Only people that are crazy go see a psychiatrist.” Life is often stressful and full of challenging events and changes. In today’s world, getting help for psychological or behavioral issues is seen as part of keeping oneself healthy in both mind and body.
  • “If I try harder I should be able to get better on my own.” Sometimes people struggle for months and years before seeing psychological help. A medical, biological or behavioral component to some disorders require more than just trying harder to get better.

Having the courage to know you need professional assistance and seek out a psychiatrist to help you lead a full functional life is a sign of strength. Take the first step toward feeling better and making a positive change in your life – call the office for an appointment.

Undiagnosed Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Many people understand right away when they hear you have ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as the hyperactivity and impulsive components are easily recognized and accepted as part of ADHD. Having ADD however is less likely to be understood – when you take away the hyperactivity or impulsive behaviors what do you have left?

Adult ADD Primary Symptom

With adult ADD the primary symptom is a persistent pattern of inattention that interferes with normal daily life functioning. With ADD the components of hyperactivity or impulsive behaviors are not present. The symptoms of ADD typically are found interfering in two or more areas of a person’s life, such as at home, work, school, or in social situations.

Questions to Ask Yourself About ADD

If you find you are answering yes to the following questions it may be time to pick up the phone and make the call for a confidential evaluation with a qualified mental health professional experienced in treating adults with attention deficit disorder. You may not have ADD; however, if you do answer yes to several of the following questions it could indicate a need for professional help to change what is interfering with living life to the fullest.

Do you:

  • Have difficulty keeping your attention on either a work task or fun activity?
  • Have trouble remaining focused during conversations, while reading or listening to others?
  • Find you are easily distracted by something in your environment or by unrelated thoughts?
  • Avoid taking part in tasks that require sustained mental effort or thought?
  • Find that your mind wanders off to somewhere else while listening to someone, even when they are speaking directly to you?
  • Find that you miss project deadlines, pay bills late, have trouble managing your time, or have difficulty organizing daily activities or tasks?
  • Make careless mistakes because you fail to pay good attention to details?
  • Often lose or misplace something that needed like your glasses, phone, wallet, keys, etc.?
  • Find yourself sidetracked, losing focus and fail to finish chores or duties?
  • Have trouble waiting your turn (in line, to talk, etc.)?

Find Help from a Psychiatrist

These are just a few of the more common symptoms of adult ADD. If you have any concerns about your mental health, behaviors, or if your symptoms are interfering with living and going about with your daily life, make the call.

ADHD Symptoms in Everyday Life

Adult ADHD has three core symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity — any or all of which may impact a person’s daily life with their various symptoms and complaints. Many may miss out on years of successful treatment by not connecting the “dots” of symptoms and diagnosis. Learning to recognize what ADHD symptoms may look like in everyday life may help thousands get the treatment needed to live a more satisfying life.

Adult ADHD Diagnosis

Having one or several symptoms of adult ADHD does not mean that you do have ADHD – only an experienced health care professional or psychiatrist can make that diagnosis. Use these lists of common everyday symptoms to discuss any of the behaviors seen in yourself with a doctor who specializes in adult ADHD.

ADHD Symptoms of Inattention

What do symptoms of inattention look like in everyday life?

  • Frequently lose your keys, phone, wallet, or misplace other necessary items
  • Trouble staying focused on work, work is inaccurate, you miss details
  • Difficulty finishing what you start at home; projects left in various stages of completion
  • Messy, disorganized work, poor time management where you miss deadlines
  • Forgetful in returning phone calls, keeping appointments, paying bills on time
  • Does not listen closely, often getting incomplete information for work assignment, travel directions, or even time/date of party
  • Avoids challenging tasks of preparing reports, monthly budget, detailed job applications

ADHD Symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity on daily basis

  • Feeling constantly restless and on the move; fidgets and squirms in seat
  • Interrupting conversations or intrudes on others, jumping in to finish others’ sentences
  • Difficulty standing in line at the check-out line, staying in seat waiting at doctor office
  • Have too much energy to wait your turn in bank line, deli line, etc.
  • Talks too much; may be called a “yapper;” people may avoid running into you
  • May borrow others’ items without asking permission first

Diagnosis and Treatment Give Relief to Symptoms

Living life with several ADHD symptoms, let alone one annoying behavior can bring added stress to not only your life but the lives of family and friends who have to negotiate through the day with you. Call the office for a comprehensive evaluation and see if adult ADHD is the easily treated diagnosis that fits you.

Societal Expectations Impact Women with ADHD

When looking at both men and women with ADHD, the underlying mechanisms of adult ADHD are the same. Both men and women have difficulties with planning, organization, paying attention and in the ability to recall details. It is however important to look at how ADHD’s symptoms are tied to gender differences with reason for these differences to be tied to society expectations.

Male vs. Female with ADHD

When looking at children, boys are diagnosed almost three times as often as girls. Besides other outwardly observable behaviors typical of ADHD, inattention issues more commonly seen with females are more subtle than the typical hyperactivity behaviors of boys, allowing many girls to slip through the cracks for both diagnosis and treatment due to the societal expectations involved. In adulthood the ratio of men versus women being diagnosed drops from three times as often in childhood to two times as likely indicating that more women are diagnosed later in life.

Is it ADHD or Not?

In adulthood, men and women do exhibit different symptoms. Men with ADHD tend to have more episodes of anger and behavioral issues, car accidents, and substance abuse; women are more likely to see conflict at home where they may often feel overwhelmed. Evaluation by a qualified psychiatrist or mental health professional is critical as men typically have those similar issues in general without having ADHD. The same occurs for women – women with ADHD are more prone to having an eating disorder, having low self-esteem, depression and anxiety – however women in the general population experience these issues as well allowing societal expectations for these symptoms to appear “normal.”

Society Expectations

Society’s expectations for those women with ADHD makes them harder to achieve. In the U.S., women’s traditional social roles include being the organizer, planner, the one expected to remember birthdays, anniversaries, school events, the one who have primary responsibility for child care, household tasks including cooking, laundry and cleaning, grocery shopping which need to be accomplished in addition to work and child rearing. For a woman with ADHD trying to “manage it all” is almost impossible without proper diagnosis and treatment.

Later Diagnosis for Women with ADHD

If you feel overwhelmed, have difficulty pulling everything together and keeping it together, have episodes of depression, anxiety and feelings of not being “as good” as other women you know, give the office a call. You may have adult ADHD which can be successfully treated, allowing you to live your life more fully and more confidently.

EEG Biofeedback and Adult ADHD

EEG Biofeedback or Neurotherapy is a relatively new technique that has provided patients positive results when included as part of their therapeutic treatment plan. Mental health professionals have found that EEG Biofeedback delivers individual benefits for those diagnosed with adult ADHD. Many patients often report benefits that rival ADHD medications such as Adderall or Ritalin, with positive results lasting for years, allowing these patients to remain medication free.

What is Neurofeedback or EEG Biofeedback?

The terms of Neurofeedback or EEG Biofeedback are interchangeable, describing treatment that utilizes a computer to measure brainwave activity or the electrical activity of the brain while thinking about or performing specific tasks. This feedback is presented initially on a computer monitor, where through training and practice, a person learns how to change the manner in which their brain functions. The goal of EEG Biofeedback with adult ADHD is to teach a person how to produce a mental state that is not only appropriate to a situation, but allows them to use it on a daily basis to exhibit successful behaviors at home, work, school or social situations.

Neurofeedback Clinic near Atlanta

Dr. Darvin Hege, an adult ADHD psychiatrist, works closely with CRG – Cognitive Rehab of Georgia for those patients that need adjunct therapy added to their comprehensive ADHD treatment plan. Dr. Hege provides his decades of experience in developing and strategizing an individual mental health treatment plan that works, referring to a select few medical associates in the community.

Meeting Unique Needs of Adults with ADHD

Call Dr. Hege for a confidential comprehensive evaluation. The unique needs for adults with ADHD are covered through use of multiple interventions that may include medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive rehabilitation, EEG Biofeedback and other compensatory strategies in designing a treatment plan that is as individual as you are.

Summertime and Adult ADHD

Summer is a season often looked forward to all year. Summertime is often viewed as a time to sit back and relax, go on vacation, sleep in, and enjoy backyard BBQs with friends. With longer daylight hours it seems that activity time is often extended into the evening. Summertime for adults with ADHD however often brings feelings of being overwhelmed by the more active pace, an increased number of projects or activities started that do not seem to get finished, and busy schedules that leave little time to “gather one’s thoughts.”

Plan for Summertime with ADHD

Share with your mental health professional how your emotions or behavior changes during the summer. Medication management may help relieve many if not all of the added stress and changed routines encountered during the summertime. Planning ahead is a great idea as well. Limit your activity schedule to an amount you feel comfortable with. Keep a check on your “yes” answers to summer invites and responsibilities. Plan to work on only one project at a time with a goal of completion by the middle or end of summer – having an outline of “to do’s” will help keep your focus on task.

Need for Adult ADHD Medications during the Summertime

Working with an experienced adult ADHD psychiatrist allows the two of you to make medication adjustments when needed to keep your ADHD symptoms on an even keel. Being able to enjoy summertime may include staying on your ADHD medications as prescribed. Stopping medication just when life throws changed routines, a faster pace of activity, or busy schedules at you makes for increased difficulty with maintaining control and in feeling overwhelmed. Summertime may be the season you need your ADHD medications more than ever.

Keeping Summertime Simple with Adult ADHD

Some ideas to help plan for a simple summertime follow:

  • Summer activities selected need to be something you really want to accomplish and ones that can realistically be completed over the summertime. While some activities are often hard and a responsibility, having only one to work on at a time will reduce feelings of being overwhelmed.
  • Allow yourself extra time if possible after a vacation to transition back from fun to work. Coming home from vacation usually involves work that includes laundry, grocery shopping, cleanup and other errands – coming back on one day and going back to work the next may cause stressors that overwhelm you.
  • Schedule and plan for the essential responsibilities like paying the bills on time, picking up your prescriptions on time so you do not run out, keeping to your household schedule of grocery shopping or making dinner, and cleaning up after yourself. Very often it is these “little” but important things that overwhelm when you discover you missed paying the electric or phone bill and are faced with the hassle of disconnection, you have no clean clothes to wear as you forgot to finish the laundry, or you run out of gas on the way to work because you ran out of time the day before.

All Seasons

No matter what season it is, life can become overwhelming and feels like your life is spinning out of control. Make the call to the Atlanta area psychiatrist with over two decades of experience successfully treating those with adult ADHD who have issues in the summertime or anytime during the year.

College Transitions with Mental Health Disorders

College students with psychiatric disabilities are entitled to reasonable academic accommodations as provided by the American Disabilities Act of 1990 and 2008 amendments. The University of Washington through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education reports that tens of thousands of adult students report having a mental illness. Students with mental illness may experience symptoms that interfere with their educational goals and create a “psychiatric disability.”

Mental Health Intervention for College Transitions

Without mental health intervention, proper medication if prescribed as part of the treatment plan, or adjunct services, college students with mental health issues may experience severe disturbances in thinking, emotions or functional life skills. These disturbances may bring a diminished capacity to cope with the demands and stress of college life, which include a time of significant transition, a new lifestyle, friends, an alternate way of thinking, and exposure to new cultures along with the pressure of academic rigor and expectations.

College Transitions and Substance Abuse

Academic demands, new peer pressures, and poor ability to adapt and cope to the new environment of a college campus may result in students struggling with mental health or psychiatric disorders. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse report 45% of college students binge drink and almost 21% abuse prescription or illegal drugs, often due to the students’ struggle to feel adequate and cope with their new life situations. Partnering with a qualified college transition psychiatrist can help steer the college student toward positive management of both their psychological issues and academic success.

Symptoms of College Psychiatric Disability

Some of the most common symptoms exhibited by adult students with developing psychiatric disabilities include:

  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Exhibiting increased anxiety, fear, suspicion, or blaming of others
  • Confused or disorganized thinking
  • Denial of obvious problems and resistive to offers of help
  • Displays of extreme highs or lows in mood
  • Marked personality changes over time
  • Talking about or thinking about suicide

College Transition Psychiatrist

Developing a strategy and treatment plan, as well as stabilizing any psychiatric issues, can help to minimize psychological and mental health issues that would otherwise prevent a successful first college experience. Call the office for a confidential appointment.

ADHD or Something Else?

ADHD diagnosis can be difficult especially when the signs and symptoms are not easily distinguished from other mental health disorders. ADHD can appear to be depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder. A variety of medical and psychiatric disorders can also mimic symptoms of ADHD. Without an accurate diagnosis you may be prescribed medication that not only does not help alleviate symptoms but may worsen the medical mental-health connections.

ADHD Diagnosis

Adult ADHD is typically diagnosed following a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation that considers childhood symptoms, medical history, personal history, and whether there is a history of substance or alcohol abuse. Receiving an accurate careful diagnosis from an experienced ADHD doctor or mental health practitioner is the right start to a successful treatment plan.

Shared Symptoms and Behavioral Patterns

Adult ADHD shares some symptoms and behavioral patterns with those diagnosed with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Many of the same symptoms are shared among the different psychiatric diagnoses. An accurate diagnosis is needed for proper treatment. Psychological studies have indicated that misdiagnosis of those with mood and behavioral disorders are quite common.

Symptoms of ADHD, Depression, Anxiety & Bipolar Disorder

Symptoms of ADHD are experienced with varied degrees of severity. Some of the more common symptoms which may point to a diagnosis of adult ADHD include:

  • Difficulty paying attention to details
  • Trouble paying attention to work that requires mental effort
  • Often not listening when others are directly talking to you
  • Problems with organizing tasks and activities
  • Easily distracted or finding oneself daydreaming throughout the day
  • Feeling like you are on the go with difficulty staying seated for any length of time
  • Finds self easily agitated or angered with low tolerance for stressful situations
  • Displaying hyperactive and impulsive behavior, difficulty waiting their turn

Adults with ADHD may not experience a loss of energy or overall feelings of sadness that those with depression may suffer, however those with adult ADHD may become demoralized by their poor performance and frequent criticism from family or supervisors at work. A qualified psychiatrist will make the distinction between clinical depression and demoralization.

Some of the symptoms of depression that may appear as symptoms of ADHD include:

  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering appointments and dates
  • Irritability, restlessness and hostility
  • Feeling anxious with low tolerance for stress
  • Insomnia, waking up too early, or oversleeping
  • Difficulty with problem solving and making decisions
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, and feeling “worn down”
  • Feelings of unhappiness, pessimism, guilt and worthlessness

Those that have both ADHD and anxiety disorder may experience panic attacks, social anxiety and excessive worry. Those with ADHD may exhibit anxiety with worry about their forgetfulness, disorganization, poor ability to complete tasks or follow through on tasks adequately. Anxiety may be exhibited by

  • Persistent restlessness
  • Poor attention
  • Low tolerance for stress
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Not being able to relax

A skilled ADHD psychiatrist is able to make the determination between a person that has anxiety with ADHD and a person who has dual diagnoses of ADHD and anxiety disorder.

Bipolar disorder in the mania phase also exhibits symptoms that mimic ADHD complaints such as:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Racing thoughts
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Feelings of exuberance and euphoria
  • Being easily distracted
  • Poor ability to concentrate

Bipolar disorder in the depressive phase may exhibit the same symptoms as are noted in the depression and ADHD section above.

Correct Diagnosis the First Step to Correct Treatment

Make the call to Dr. Hege’s office for a confidential appointment, an expert in diagnostic evaluation and treatment of ADHD and other conditions.