Can ADHD get worse with age, menopause or stress?

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Women & Girls Can ADHD get worse with age, menopause or stress?

Viewing 18 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #128845
      Hummingbird19
      Participant

      I was just diagnosed with Inattentive ADHD a couple of weeks ago. It’s frustrating because I’m 47 but that’s another topic. Fairly recently, I suspected I had it after doing some research because my life has become out of control. I can’t get a grip on important things I should be and want to be doing, such as working, cleaning, and organizing among other things. I also have a few characteristics of the Hyperactive kind such as blurting out (and not considering the consequences until it’s too late), impatience (I hate waiting for anything), and restlessness (I often have a hard time relaxing, while watching TV or a movie for example). In the past I must have been, what I’d call, a functioning ADHDer, because I performed well at school and work for the most part. I think my ADHD has either caught up with me and has snowballed into a life that is out of control or gotten worse. I may be starting menopause because my periods have been irregular and uncertain how this may affect ADHD. I was prescribed Adderall XR 10 mg and just took my first dose three hours ago. I was told that I could feel more focused within 30 minutes. So far I don’t but actually a little high (spacey) at the moment. Again, another topic…haaaa! I’m in desperate need for the medication to work so I can focus and get things done. Has anyone else had a similar experience with ADHD getting worse with age, menopause, or stress?

      • This topic was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Hummingbird19.
      • This topic was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Hummingbird19. Reason: misspelling
    • #128900
      Sam k
      Participant

      That’s my life exactly! I was referred to a specialist about 11 months go, on a very long waiting list. Yes I think hormonal changes make me worse, I don’t do stress or boredom.

      Only ever been prescribed antidepressants, tried every one! They do not work for adhd. I want to try a stimulant drug to see if it makes a difference.
      Consult your doctor if you think the med / dosage doesn’t suit you, there will be a bit of trial and error involved before you get the right meds. Hope that helps x

      • #128904
        Hummingbird19
        Participant

        Thank you for replying, Inak! Have you been able to see the specialist yet? Have you done Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and if so, has it helped? I’d like to if I can find someone in my insurance plan who specializes in it. Being diagnosed with ADHD is overwhelming me because it’s another thing on my plate and will take a lot of time and energy to address.

        Interesting about the hormones. I’m wondering if they’re causing my ADHD to blow up. Haaaa!

        You’re right that anti-depressants don’t help ADHD. I’ve been on Effexor XR due to depression for years now. I’m wondering if ADHD is the underlying problem and they missed the boat. Impatient as I am, I would like to see the effects of Adderall immediately but agree it will likely take some time to figure out the right dose or medication.

      • #132006
        PattiD
        Participant

        I can’t reply for some reason, but I will.

    • #128905
      spacecadet59
      Participant

      Perfect timing! I just found this site earlier today. I am 60 and have always been a little scatterbrained. 🤪 I’ve also taken effexor for years, as well as synthroid for thyroid issues. Two of my three children began taking adderall as young adults. My daughter has done a lot of research and has read that women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression instead of ADD. I think maybe I’ve just been learning to compensate, too. I did well in high school and auditioned and was accepted to music school, but I can look back now and see all kinds of issues since high school. Again, I survived, but have never really felt like I had my act together. Part of that is my personality, to be really hard on myself. I also blamed depression, thyroid, marriage, and my lack of motivation. My jobs involve teaching music and church music and all go into high gear this time of year. I feel so unable to deal with all the little pieces this year! I’ll be talking to the doctor when I see him for other stuff next week. An article on here about older folks, even older than me, 😉 with ADHD was so encouragingly. So glad to know I’m not alone!

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by spacecadet59.
      • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by spacecadet59.
      • #128913
        Hummingbird19
        Participant

        Thank you for replying Spacecadet59! I like your username by the way! 😂 No, you are not alone!

        I also take Synthroid for hypothyroidism! Concerned about my research and self test results, I went to my PA and told her I thought I had ADHD. She suspected my symptoms were due to hormones related to hypothyroidism and possibly perimenopause. My thyroid did end up being a bit low so she increased Synthroid dose. She seemed a little skeptical about ADHD but referred me to a psychologist who diagnoses it. It would be a good thing to know if or how hormone levels affect ADHD.

        I am also really hard on myself. I actually thought I had my act together until the past five years but now see how ADHD has affected my entire life. I almost think ignorance was bliss because now I know my normal isn’t normal. I’m having a hard time accepting it even though it explains everything.

        I can relate when you said, “unable to deal with all the little pieces.” It doesn’t take much to overwhelm me these days.

        Do your children think Adderall has helped them and did they adjust pretty quickly? I’m glad to hear you’ll be discussing ADHD with your doctor!

    • #129060
      Macushla68
      Participant

      Hello all, there is a link for some women between perimenopause and ADD/ADHD. If I can find the articles I have read, I will see if I can direct you to them as I believe we can’t post links here. It would be interesting to know if there is any link for men at this stage of life.

      Spacecadet59, your daughter’s research is interesting and it makes me wonder more … I was diagnosed with low-level post-natal depression about 10 years ago. I had a lot of memory issues and scatter-brain issues but the depression tag never sat well with me, having had depression previously and feeling completely differently.

      It’s difficult when so many conditions share symptoms and are often inter-linked.

      Thanks so much to all on this thread. Hummingbird19 – your frustrations are mine, too!

    • #129061
      spacecadet59
      Participant

      Hello again,
      Yes, my children seem to benefit from the adderall a d miss it on days they forgat

    • #129062
      Learning4Three
      Participant

      Hi Hummingbird19, I understand you exactly! I had been on anti-anxiety medicine for a very long time (over 20 years). When I finally discovered it had addicting properties I insisted getting off it immediately. That was within the last few months, which I had to do a step-down to safely get rid of it. I knew for sometime that I had troubles concentrating, completing tasks, focusing, and controlling some of my behaviors after some major changes in my life, that I thought had been caused by extreme stress. But after I stop the Xanax things seemed to get more out of control. I had been alright in school, college, marriage, divorce, working, raising my two daughters, menopause, and seven grandchildren. I’m 69 and had also wondered if I was getting dementia? My question was, “am I going crazy?” I recently talked with my psychologist and was told I have an ADHD brain and was not crazy! And put me on a 45 minute task program, whether I had completed it or not. I was relieved and scared at the same time!! “What is ADHD?”, and “I thought it was something children had.” So, I began to do a lot of reading which led me to this site, and I’ve been reading as much as I can tolerate, for up to 3 times a week. I told my family but I don’t think they really understand. I also talked with one of my granddaughters who said she had some of the same problems, along with my youngest grandson’s stages of disruption. Yes, it’s usually inherited but I can’t get my daughter to get assistance for him. I will not be taking any medication for it because I’m sick and tired of meds after 40+ years for arthritis, debilitating fibromyalgia, and severe migraines. Nor do I want any of my children on meds. I’m learning as much as I can process so I can help my grandchildren and myself. GOD is my strength and protection, yes, He’s my all-in-all. Through Him I know I can do all things. Matthews 19:26 Be blessed.

    • #129077
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      There’s definitely a connection. Check out these articles for details:

      ADHD Symptoms and Menopause

      Perimenopause Problems: How Changing Hormones Exacerbate ADHD Symptoms

      Penny
      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

      • #129104
        Hummingbird19
        Participant

        Learning4Three, Thank you for replying! Also questioned if I was getting dementia!
        I understand being tired of meds as now have 5 of them. Fortunately, I don’t have any side effects with the others but Adderall remains to be seen. It seems to make me feel a bit spacey, which I don’t like. I think in general, as long as there aren’t serious side effects, then medication is a good treatment option.
        I am also a Christian and have asked God why He has added this to my overflowing plate. I have to remind myself that All things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

    • #129095
      Hummingbird19
      Participant

      Macushla68, I wonder if having ADHD is the cause of depression due to not enough dopamine and neurotransmitters not functioning properly or if depression can be totally separate from it. And if all ADHDers are doomed to depression or what the percentage is. Curious if you were diagnosed with depression prior to ADHD too?

      It does sound like hormones can make symptoms worse. I found this article about women’s hormones: https://www.additudemag.com/women-hormones-and-adhd/

      Spacecadet59, good to know! It’s been 3 days on 10 mg and not feeling a difference. Thinking may need increased dose.

      Penny, thank you much for the articles!

    • #129433
      Bobmctx
      Participant

      This is a very interesting post. Thank you all for contributing! I am a 68 y.o. Male. I’ve had add all my life and was diagnosed in my 40’s and tried Ritalin at that time but it didn’t seem to help. I had pretty bad depression also, so I ended up on Wellbutrin RX for a number of years until finally switching to St. John’s wort, which helped my depression , but my ADD not so much!
      I retired. Now and driving my wife crazy with my disorganization and my unattentiveness about my surroundings. ( I worked by myself) I think my ADD is getting worse also.( hormones?)
      Now I need to get educated about ADD medications, so here I am!

      • #129465
        Hummingbird19
        Participant

        Thank you for replying, Bobmctx! Yes, it seems from what I’ve read and heard so far, that anti-depressants don’t seem to help ADHD. I haven’t tried St. John’s Wort but it’s great to hear that a natural supplement is helping your depression! I would love to replace Effexor and should ask PA about it.

        I think this website has some articles on medication options. Have you seen them? I am on Adderall now but not really feeling any more focused like I was told I would be. Thinking I will need a higher dose or maybe another medication altogether.

    • #129444
      AutumnDraidean
      Participant

      So I was Dx’d as a kid, back in the 1980’s when you were taken off stumulents when you hit puberty.

      I got through a BA in history with crappy grades and paddled around in circles for a couple years until I got angry enough to succeed at nursing school. I worked regular part time for about 8 years then per diem for six or so more years. I had always blamed my increasing frustration on the steady intrusion of computers into health care but now I really wonder because at the same time that was happening I was going through perimenopause, then full on menopause.

      I do think that the loss of the two hormones really increased my adhd symptoms. I managed to get on meds although the struggle continues.

      I am hypothyroid from birth, if that matters…

      • #129469
        Hummingbird19
        Participant

        Thank you for replying AutumnDraidean! I agree that from what (little) I’ve read and experienced myself, that hormones must have a significant impact on ADHD symptoms. With changing hormones from perimenopause, I think this is why my symptoms have become out of control which led to my diagnosis at 47. It’s like a triple whammy dealing with hormones related to hypothyroidism on top of it.

        Just fyi everyone, I stuck a casserole in the oven tonight. The timer went off and I noticed the oven wasn’t very hot and the casserole wasn’t done. Somehow I managed to turn off the oven while it was supposed to be baking. I have never done this before. It’s almost 9 pm and we haven’t eaten. Haaaa!

    • #129472
      Bobmctx
      Participant

      Thank you hummingbird for replying. I was reading some of the other posts and I sewed there are quite a few of us Christians here! Although I have only became a true Christian about four years ago, I know that it has helped me with my depression immensely. When I was in training to become a Stephen Minister I had to read a book on being assertive and from that I learned t be assertive with myself and stop beating myself over the head for every little mistake that i’ve Made or make! So for the first time in my life I have real Joy! I thank God for that blessing and for all the blessing he continues to pour over me. Ok , enough proselytizing!(sp)
      Now that I have my depression out of the way i’ve Decided work on improving my ADD! I am going to the doctor today to start on that, I will keep y’all posted!

      • #129487
        Hummingbird19
        Participant

        Bobmctx, I wasn’t familiar with Stephen Ministry so I googled it. It sounds like a great program which provide tools for ministering to others. Congratulations for completing it and good for you! How wonderful that you’re experiencing joy! I struggle with that and beat myself up relentlessly.

        Please do keep us posted with your doctor visit. I’m curious which drug they’ll prescribe.

    • #129478
      AutumnDraidean
      Participant

      Hummingbird I’m sorry about your casserole! in my house we sometimes do “Dinner is cancelled, forage for yourselves!” but my youngest is 13 so…

      Are you seeing an endocrinologist for your thyroid issues? Often times regular primary care providers are playing cookbook medicine, they know just enough…but not quite.

      I learned early to stick with endocrinology for that very reason. I also had a little bout with thyroid cancer and learned a bit how being radically hypothyroid felt for me. After I had my thyroid removed I had an iodine ablation which works best if your TSH is very high. I went off my thyroid med on 3 separate occasions for testing and the actual ablation. It made me feel slow, sleepy and sore, if I made any sudden movement my muscles would hurt from it. I wanted to do things but I couldn’t quite muster up the will to do them. It of course made my natural procrastination behaviors that much worse. I also had recombinant (artificial) TSH for a test, I felt fine initially, then after 45 minutes I felt like I’d been hit by a crosstown bus! If you ever have that, bring a driver!!

      For frame of reference, I take 200 micrograms of synthroid a day. during my childbearing years I was on 250, that started when I was pregnant with my first, and continued until I was about 45. Some of the OBs around here give 25-50 micrograms to their pregnant pts if the TSH is high. The argument against it is that the thyroid won’t ramp up on it’s own then. The argument for it is fewer early miscarriages in these pts.

      • #129500
        Hummingbird19
        Participant

        AutumnDraidean, It should have been a “forage for yourself” night! I made the casserole without looking at the recipe and added an extra cup of rice. It turned out very dry. Haaaa!

        I am sorry to hear you had to endure all of that with your thyroid and thank you for sharing! How is your energy level now?
        Thank you also for the advice to see an endocrinologist. You made a great point! It will be my next step. I’m curious which ADHD med you’re on and which one? Please only share if you’re okay with doing so though.

        Realizing that all of these health factors affect our energy level, procrastination, focus, etc. is quite daunting. However do we know which one it is that needs to be addressed?!?!

    • #131613
      Macushla68
      Participant

      Nothing new to add, but thanks you all for your comments on this thread. They have helped me to not feel as alone – or as crazy – as I had!

      • #131627
        Hummingbird19
        Participant

        Macushla68, I’m so glad! It’s comforting knowing others have similar struggles and understand! Best wishes to you!

    • #131996
      stella1013
      Participant

      OMG, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been going crazy. I’ve been having such a hard time lately. I’ve always been hard on myself and have always had a where there’s a will, there’s a way attitude, but after being thrust into post-surgical menopause after chemotherapy I can’t will anything together. I’m also on effexor for depression and menopause side effects since I can’t have HRT due to previous breast cancer. I finally today joined ADDitude forums for some support. Add me to the you are not alone list. It’s a struggle to not be able to explain ADHD to those surrounding me but then to add the menopause too at 37. It’s been very isolating as my friends are all in their early to mid-thirties and have no idea.

      • #132075
        Hummingbird19
        Participant

        Stella1013, thank you for your reply! I am sincerely sorry to hear you had cancer and thrilled to hear you conquered it!

        I’m glad you found this forum! I’ve found this website to be informative about menopause and depression with ADHD. It’s reassuring knowing there are so many out there who share the same struggles too.

        I understand feeling isolated! My parents don’t have an interest in learning about ADHD which is disappointing, especially since I suspect they both have it. I also told a friend of almost 30 years and she said, “YOU have it?” I could’ve taken it as a compliment because maybe I hid it well despite not knowing I had it. But then she said, “Everyone has ADD!” among other things, as if to minimize it. Her comments made me angry. I wish I would have said, “That’s what I thought before I educated myself about it.” ADHD is nothing to be ashamed of but apathy and ignorant comments aren’t helpful or encouraging. I’ve realized self-preservation is important and will be more cautious about the people I confide in.

        I’ve also realized better self-care such as healthier food choices, plenty of sleep, and more exercise are must-do’s. I’m not always disciplined with these things and working on them.

        Were you recently diagnosed with ADHD? Do your family and friends know about it, depression, and menopause or have you chosen not to discuss them? Do you think Effexor is helping?

      • #132348
        stella1013
        Participant

        Hi Hummingbird19,
        Yes, self-care is tough especially when I know I’ll feel better. The other part of self-care I’m working on is not to self-blame… A continuous work in progress.

        I was recently diagnosed about 5 years ago. I’ve been diagnosed with depression since my teens. Off and on Prozac. After entering post-surgical menopause my oncologist thought Effexor would be better to help control the hot flashes…

        Surprisingly I really liked Effexor and it helped stabilize the mood swings a lot. One downside is the withdrawal symptoms. Though that gives me an added incentive to not miss a dose. Something I was prone to do on Prozac.

        It’s been hard to explain how complicated ADHD is alone, then adding in hormones or lack thereof and it’s harder for me to explain. My family and friend also know about it all…Though trying to get my family to realize they may need to be checked for it too has been tough. Though my mom has been the only one to get tested and she’s been diagnosed with ADHD. She had a really tough time in school and does feel relieved to know there’s a reason.

    • #132076
      spacecadet59
      Participant

      Hi everyone,
      I’d like to follow up about my experience. I shared a lot in my earlier posts, but in summary, September was horrible for me. I felt like I couldn’t think straight about anything. It’s a busy time as i restart choir practices and preschool music classes. I also added the job of leading our church handbell group and totally redefining my role in music ministry. All of the above are paying jobs.

      I saw my doctor for a physical and thyroid and other bloodwork was fine. We talked about ADHD and he was hesitant to prescribe meds because of the possible side effects. I’ve always had the option to take a slightly higher dose of Effexor,so he suggested that. It may have helped, but I don’t really have a way of telling.

      Generally, things are much better, but I’ll share more. Maybe there will be something worthwhile for someone else. So the extra effexor may have helped, but here are some other thoughts.
      1) My granddaughter had a late school start because of construction on a new school building. I goofed off a lot with her and stayed in summer mode longer than usual. Therefore, I had little advance prep for my fall responsibilities and was also adding to those responsibilities.
      2) I was a slug in September and exercised very little, even though I had exercised a fair amount over the summer. I also had some pretty bad eating habits.
      3)We had an onslaught of over 90 degree days! It was miserable and we had some record breaking days for this late in the year. The temp dropped 20 degrees in one day a couple of weeks ago and I was a different person. I drink a lot of water, but think I may have been slightly dehydrated during the heat wave.

      This is long! If you’re still reading, I’m about to finish.😉

      In conclusion, life is messy and we’re complicated. Aging and health issues add to the effects of ADHD in our lives. One size does not fit all and we’re are own best advocates. For me, I think I need to work on healthy habits. I also need to be ahead of my tendencies to have brain meltdown, not taking on too much, routines and systems in place to handle work and life, and just a break to breath more often. I might get it figured out this week and it will be different next week. This thing is a continuous journey, as is anyone’s life.

      Hope y’all find what works for you. Blessings!

    • #132127
      Hummingbird19
      Participant

      Spacecadet59, I received an email that you had posted an update on this forum but am puzzled because I don’t see it on here.

      It sounds like you have a lot on your plate! I’m sorry that September was such a tough month for you! I’m right there with you, Sister! I agree that with ADHD we need to take great care of ourselves. I need to get significantly more disciplined about healthy habits and managing my to-do’s so I’m not always overwhelmed. My question is how to because I wouldn’t be in this predicament if I’d figured that out. 😂 I am going to see a counselor for CBT and hope she can help with it.

      Thank you for your update! You made some great points!

      • #132327
        Hummingbird19
        Participant

        Hi spacecadet59, I see your reply that was missing has posted. You may have seen my response already above. Thank you again for the update!

    • #132312
      roadrunner
      Participant

      Just wanted to add some of my experiences so far with recent ADD diagnosis at age 41. I went to my doctor with concerns about depression. I was feeling so overwhelmed and just couldn’t handle things anymore. I was prescribed an anti depressant and anti anxiety meds. This did not help in fact making my depression worse. I was referred to a psychiatrist and she said I had ADD. I am now on Adderall which has helped some and also CBT therapy. I continue to struggle with low mood, self blame and a lot of guilt for my downfalls of not being able to get my crap together. I also have some hormonal issues but the doctor won’t address it. I thought I was going through menopause be he just laughed at me. My cycles have been really heavy and getting worse the last year. Despite being an avid runner anywhere from 10-16miles daily the periods get heavier not going away like most females when they exercise a lot. I don’t know how this effects ADD and mood but I think it must have an impact. When nursing my four kids my mood was good although I have always had trouble with organizing and doing what mothers are suppose to do. I can’t cook and have caught the microwave on fire a few times. My kids mostly fend for themselves in the kitchen. Anyways this is my experience so far and I do wonder how hormones effect all this.

      • #132335
        Hummingbird19
        Participant

        Hi roadrunner, Thank you for sharing your experience with us! I’m sorry you are going through this and think many of us on here can relate! I was quite irked after reading your comment about the doctor laughing at you. Am I right to assume it was because of your age? From what I’ve read, it isn’t unreasonable to think you could be going through perimenopause. I’m 47 and think I started at least 2 years ago due to longer, heavier periods and increased frequency of every 21 days. Oddly, my PA, who also does my exams, didn’t really answer when I originally asked if I was going through perimenopause or menopause. Grrrr! She had no idea that perimenopause and the related hormones can increase symptoms of ADHD. I actually forwarded a couple of articles to her. It seemed like she was doubtful I had ADHD and was just trying to get my hands on a stimulant!

        Side note: I’m a bit perplexed about the terminology. I think perimenopause and menopause are often used synonymously. It’s my understanding perimenopause is the period of time when changes take place prior to menopause and menopause is the year after the last period. Can anyone clarify this for me?

        Since originally posting my question, I have read a lot of articles about menopause, hormones, and ADHD. I too, was diagnosed with depression first, twenty years ago. I’m pretty sure I have anxiety as well but it has never been addressed. I do have a history of depression but I’m frustrated that all of the doctors, PAs, psychiatrists, and psychologists over the years totally missed the boat with my ADHD.

        Your experience struck a chord with me. It seems that most professionals aren’t educated about ADHD let alone the effects of hormones. There are some great articles on this site and on the web about them. I also watched a youtube video titled ADHD & Women with Patricia O Quinn M.D. – Webinar. It’s long and old but still seems relevant and I highly recommend watching it. I plan on seeing an endocrinologist who can hopefully understand the role that hormones play with ADHD.

    • #132581
      Nite-owl
      Participant

      Just found this site and posted about ADD and narcolepsy (yes, there’s a correlation), now I see another one…menopause. Jeez, is there no end to this madness? Scrolling back 20-30 years (I’m 72now) it’s a miracle the kids and I survived! Someone asked about menopause vs peri menopause. Meno=menorrhea, menses, bleeding. Pause=the end of it, normally 12 months after bleeding has stopped. Peri=around, the time around when symptoms of menopause begin (hot flashes, moodiness etc.) until your period has stopped for 12 months.
      For those of you suffering through this alone and unsupported, I sympathize. A caring, knowledgeable healthcare professional is key. One who scoffs, ignores or laughs is unprofessional, negligent, uneducated, rude and in the wrong profession. If possible, find a replacement. If that’s not possible, be assertive. Remember this person is working FOR YOU. You’re the boss. Good luck to all of you. This, too shall pass. Well, SOME of it, anyway. The kids will grow up eventually (most of them, hopefully) and retirement will arrive before we die too soon.

      • #132766
        Hummingbird19
        Participant

        Niteowl, thank you for your post! you made me laugh! Thank you for clarifying perimenopause vs. menopause!

        I agree about healthcare professionals and you made some good points! I’m not feeling confident in my PA’s ability to manage my ADHD medication and may consult with a psychiatrist or a center that specializes in it.

        Best wishes to you!

    • #133247
      adhdadult401
      Participant

      100 percent. It gets worse for me if I’m stressed, don’t excercise. Most importantly diet and alcohol. I find that alcohol is terrible for adhd. Also food is very important. When I consist a non gmo Whole Foods type diet my symptoms significantly improve.

      • #133248
        Hummingbird19
        Participant

        adhdadult401, Interesting and good to know! I’m working on being more disciplined with diet, exercise, and sleep to see if I notice a difference.

        Do you mean alcohol makes symptoms worse while you’re drinking or the next day? Are you referring to one glass or several?

        Has anyone noticed a difference in the effects of alcohol with medication? I read that it’s discouraged and people may drink more because they can’t feel it. I don’t drink often anyway but had 2 drinks one night since starting Adderall. I drank during dinner and wasn’t tipsy.

Viewing 18 reply threads

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.