Hormones and ADHD

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Did you know that hormones can have an effect on ADHD? Changes in hormonal levels at any stage of life can affect your ADHD symptoms, almost always making them worse.

Studies on teens with ADHD showed that ADHD medications often stopped working with the onset of puberty, or at least became less effective in treating symptoms.

It is believed that the body’s metabolism rate increases with puberty, causing the medication to go through the system at a faster rate. In addition, you often see growth rates increase in children at this time, and more muscular development, both of which will result in a need for a higher dose of medication.

As it turns out, an increase in medication dosages is often all it takes for males with ADHD to get back on track, but the same is not true for teen girls. An increase in medication for teen girls with ADHD often has little effect at all, other than an increase in side effects.

Teen girls may also experience anxiety and depression with the onset of puberty. Estrogen is known to improve cognitive functioning and memory, so you can see how changes in estrogen levels for a girl going through puberty would affect her ADHD.

Changes in hormonal levels later in life can also affect ADHD.

ADHD symptoms may become more pronounced during pregnancy, for instance, and there is no definitive research to indicate whether or not medications for ADHD are dangerous for pregnant women and their babies. At best, doctors can say that there is no evidence to say that ADHD drugs harm the fetus, and no evidence to say that they do not.

Menopause, of course, is all about changing hormone levels. Many women are often diagnosed with ADHD at this stage of their lives. Once again, anxiety and depression may also be present in addition to ADHD symptoms. While a woman may have functioned well for most of her life not knowing she had ADHD, the added stress of hormone fluctuation along with anxiety and/or depression, can make her ADHD symptoms unmanageable.

Many doctors advocate taking better care of yourself during these times. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and exercise, and adding supplements such as Omega 3 oil to your diet can often help you through these challenging times. (See Med Free with ADD for more information.)

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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of Lacyestelle.com and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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