ADHD and Menopause

ADHD and Menopause

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects individuals across the lifespan, but its manifestation and impact can vary. In this article, we will delve into the fundamentals of ADHD, explore its prevalence in men and women, discuss diagnostic criteria and causative factors. Furthermore, we will shed light on the unique intersection of ADHD and menopause, emphasising how symptoms may be exacerbated during this stage of life. Lastly, we will explore treatment options, including systemic psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioural therapy.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It can significantly affect an individual’s daily functioning and overall quality of life.

 

Prevalence of ADHD:

ADHD does not discriminate based on gender, affecting both males and females. However, research suggests that it may be more commonly diagnosed in males during childhood. As individuals age, the prevalence appears to even out, and the symptoms may present differently in men and women.

How is ADHD Diagnosed?

ADHD diagnosis involves a comprehensive assessment, considering behavioural observations, medical history, and specific criteria outlined in diagnostic manuals such as the ICD. In adults, symptoms may manifest as:

  1. Difficulty in sustaining attention in tasks or leisure activities.
  2. Impulsivity leading to hasty decision-making.
  3. Restlessness and difficulty staying seated.

Causes of ADHD:

ADHD is a complex condition with multifactorial origins. Several factors may increase the likelihood of ADHD, including:

  • Low birth weight and preterm delivery.
  • Maternal smoking or alcohol exposure during pregnancy.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Acquired brain injury.
  • Lead exposure.
  • Iron deficiency.
  • Being in the care of others who are not parents (‘looked after’).
  • Maternal mental health problems.
  • Substance misuse.
  • Presence of other neurodevelopmental or mental health disorders.

 

ADHD and Menopause:

The menopausal transition is a challenging period for many women, marked by hormonal fluctuations and various physical and psychological symptoms. For women with ADHD, this stage may exacerbate symptoms such as forgetfulness, irritability, and difficulties in concentration. The hormonal changes during menopause can interact with ADHD symptoms, leading to heightened challenges in managing daily tasks.

Treatment Options:

Managing ADHD involves a multimodal approach, and treatment plans may include medication, psychoeducation, and therapeutic interventions. Systemic psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) have shown efficacy in helping individuals develop coping strategies and improve their executive functions. In some cases, patients maybe, after diagnosis and other therapeutic interventions have failed, offered prescription drugs.

These are 5 types of medicine licensed for the treatment of ADHD according to the NHS website:

  • methylphenidate.
  • lisdexamfetamine.
  • dexamfetamine.
  • atomoxetine.
  • guanfacine.

There is conflicting evidence that medical marijuana helps ADHD and at present it can only be prescribed by a private licensed specialist.  More research is needed for the efficacy of medical marijuana in the treatment of ADHD.

 

References:

To provide authoritative information, it is crucial to refer to reputable sources. The ADHD Society and leading doctors in the field offer valuable insights.

The ADHD Foundation (www.adhdfoundation.org.uk )
The National Institute of Mental Health (www.nimh.nih.gov )
The ADHD Society. (www.adhdsociety.org.uk)
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). (www.nice.org.uk) can be consulted for up-to-date information.
https://lyphe.com/cannabis-for-adhd/#:~:text=Yes%2C%20you%20can%20get%20a,will%20benefit%20from%20using%20cannabis
https://news.sky.com/story/adhd-sufferers-are-self-medicating-with-cannabis-because-of-nhs-delays-charity-warns-12933943
https://www.leafie.co.uk/articles/medical-cannabis-adhd/

 

In conclusion, understanding ADHD and its interaction with the menopausal transition is essential for comprehensive healthcare. By recognising the nuances of ADHD in different life stages, individuals and healthcare professionals can tailor interventions to better address the unique challenges posed by this neurodevelopmental disorder.