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You are Not Crazy, Lazy or Stupid!

The Scoop on ADHD & Hormones


While we have made good strides since I entered the field of ADHD coaching, women with ADHD are still underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Their ADHD still comes with more adjacent anxiety and depression than men with ADHD.

ADHD symptoms that are more common to women than men are still often ignored, doubted or dismissed by mainstream western medical doctors. And they are gaslit into thinking certain symptoms are in their imagination.


A recent survey of 1829 adults with ADHD, clearly indicated that hormonal fluctuations worsen ADHD symptoms!

Basically, estrogen regulates dopamine and keeps us nicely "executively functioning". So any period where estrogen fluctuates:

  • puberty

  • pregnancy

  • post-partum

  • perimenopause / menopause,

might cause your symptoms to increase.


Puberty

Girls are more likely to be diagnosed around adolescence, when estrogen starts fluctuating. Or girls with ADHD who were doing well in elementary school, find themselves struggling more with the demands in middle school. Teen girls with ADHD also report more:

  • Feelings of sadness or depression

  • Rejection sensitive dysphoria

  • Greater worry or anxiety

PMS / PMDD

2 out of 3 ADHD women who were surveyed, say they experience:

  • Irritability

  • Mood swings

  • Cramps or discomfort

  • Tension/anxiety &

  • Lack of focus/concentration

when their monthly estrogen levels dip.

Pregnancy

Estrogen levels skyrocket in pregnancy and some women report greater

  • focus

  • drive

  • organization &

  • improved sleep.

However, others did not notice a difference, possibly because the improvements were offset by their discontinuing of medication during pregnancy.


Post-Partum

This is when estrogen levels plummet. As if it isn't hard enough juggling the demands of a newborn with a neurotypical brain, 61% of women with ADHD self-report post-partum depression, experiencing:

  • crying spells

  • feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, or inadequacy

  • mood swings & irritability &

  • lack of concentration.

Peri Menopause & Menopause

Women in the 40s & 50s report a significant decrease in functioning regarding:

  • Time management

  • Procrastination

  • Working memory problems

  • Feelings of overwhelm

  • Greater disorganization

This was 100% my experience BTW, prompting me for the first time to suspect that I might have ADHD myself.

Males

Boys and men also experience hormonal fluctuations that affect their ADHD symptoms. For more on the survey I based this email on, check out the full article here.


If you had a broken leg, you'd make accommodations to support your functioning. You'd get crutches, you'd ask for help, you'd postpone or simplify certain things. Maybe you'd order food instead of trying to make it. Maybe you'd hire a sitter.

When your executive function is compromised, you deserve the same treatment!

So, if you are in any of these life stages, or when you find yourself struggling at "that time of the month", be gentle with yourself and answer these questions:


For now, what can I:

  • postpone,

  • lower my standards with,

  • delegate,

  • ask for help with,

  • simplify

or just plain let go of?


Got an answer? I'd love to hear. Comment below,



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