ADHD women and the effects of menapause?

I have been in treatment for peri-menapause using natural hormones, vitamins and lifestyle changes while also experiencing a significant increase in my ADHD symptoms for the last 4 years.  Symptoms have included much more distractibility, memory loss and forgetfullness, trouble recalling names and mild depression.  Have been taking Concerta with vague results, and now trying a trial of Amantadine after reading "Delivered from Distraction". 

I've been told by three practitioners that ADHD and the hormonal changes that accompany menapause is uncharted territory ... was hoping Melissa might be able to suggest further reading on this subject?

Thanks, J

I really need to hear what

I really need to hear what your response is...I'm having the same issues...except my husband snores all night (and he says I snore from 4 or 5 on) and I don't think I'm sleeping well...so it's very hard to pick apart the symptoms. I don't know what's caused by ADD, by menopause or by simple sleep deprivation.

yes, please! guides to ADD and hormones...

There are a few fairly general comments from Kathleen Nadeau and Patricia Quinn, and brief piece on women's lifecycle and ADD, on the ADDitude website (search "menopause" once you get to the site) suggesting that yes, ADD symptoms are affected by hormonal fluctuations. There is a mention of a 3-week estrogen/1 week progesterone regimen, and some older mentions of ERT (some clearly dating from before the broadcast warnings about replacement therapy). Sari Solden's book on Women and ADD also says symptoms often worsen during this phase. Part of the vagueness seems to come from the fact that the hormonal changes often aren't smooth, even progressions, and even the measurable effects (eg hot flashes) a) do not happen to all women and b) happen erratically and unpredictably in the women who experience them. In addition to hunting for info on (peri)menopause, I've been looking for information about hormonal birth control and what methods might or might not make any difference -- for example, are progestrogen-only pills (POP or mini-pill) maybe not such a good idea for the ADDer? I'm going on 48 so some of my docs have been concerned about combination pills, hence the POPs, but the recommendations for us perimenopausal folks seem to head more toward estrogen. I would think that the b/c issue might be relevant for younger women also, unless the added hormones from birth control are just very low compared to what the 20-something body already produces? Alas, one suspects this whole area suffers from the combination of lack of research on women and menopause (especially around cognition, etc) and lack of research on adult women and ADD. Ned and Melissa, what's the research out there? anything coming down the pike?

Peri/Menopause - A Nightmare for my ADHD

I am 48 years old, and have been having the very same problems for the past 4 years.  I was not diagnosed with ADHD until about a year and a half ago, so thought I was totally losing it.  Distractibility, memory loss, forgetfulness, trouble recalling names, major depression, anxiety and a complete inability to sleep have been my primary symptoms.  I was told by my gynecologist that I was in peri-menopause 5 years ago.  My horomones (I call them "horror-mones") have been all over the map and making it so much more difficult to get a balance with medication. I don't know how much longer this is going to go on, as I cannot get an answer as to whether or not I am in "true" menopause now or not.

After months of trying different combinations and dosages of Adderall, Lexapro, Clonidine and Ambien 12.5, things seem to be getting better.  I don't dare miss a dose of my meds, though, or I'm right back to the same problems. 

I have heard from a few sources that menopause and the resulting changes in horomones can cause major problems with ADHD.  You are the first person I have heard say anything about this "uncharted" territory...  I would love to know of any materials I could also read to get some ideas on how to better handle all of the side effects of Peri/Menopause with ADHD. 

arwen's picture

menopause, serotonin and ADD

Please understand that I am not an expert in these matters, I'm just responding based on what I've read in a variety of sources.  When I was going through menopause, I did a lot of online research about hormone activity during menopause, because mine were all over the map.  In menopause, estrogen levels drop off over time, with fluctuations along the way.  Estrogen affects serotonin levels, and serotonin levels can affect  ADD.  As far as I've ever been able to determine, there isn't any way to smooth out the estrogen fluctuations.  The only thing that can be addressed is the impact on the serotonin levels from the overall drop off of estrogen.