ADHD link to menopause

WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Sandra Centorino feels extremely anxious most days.

“Maybe I’m overloading myself too much but I blame everything on menopause.”

Keeping a list to stay focused and organized has done little to keep her on track.

“I’ll check off like all the boxes. I’ll cross things out and I’ll be like whoo hooo like I almost want to do a chant because that was a good day. But most of the days I definitely feel like there is some kind of veil or fog in front of me.”

Well known psychiatrist Dr. Thomas E. Brown at Yale School of Medicine hears similar symptoms, from patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder who are having a tough time with what he refers to as managing executive functions of the brain.

“By that we mean, the ability to get organized and get started on things. The ability to stay focused on something you need to focus and then shift focus when you need to do that,” said Dr. Brown

The link to menopause came about after women were increasingly sharing their personal stories.

Dr. Brown explained, “Typically 40-45-50-55 years old who were saying, I never had much trouble with that ADD stuff but over the past few years increasingly I find my memory is not working for me.”

That led to two studies of which he was co-investigator, looking into how effective ADHD drugs would be for those women.

“Women were coming back saying,” said Dr. Brown, “it’s not perfect but its a lot better than it was before and I find that taking this medicine really made a difference for me.”

Dr. Mary Jane Minkin is a noted menopause specialist. “Have I seen women who have done very well with ADHD type medication, yes I certainly have and it’s certainly something worthwhile considering.”

But a lot of women are like Sandra. They don’t want to talk about it with their doctor.

Sandra shared, “Not really, I never really get into I can’t stay focused. I wouldn’t call it embarrassing but it’s not like the first thing on my list. I’m thinking, I can breathe, I’m healthy.”

With more options for treatment for the mid-life onset impairments, researchers say it’s time for women to seek the help they need.

The women were treated with both ADHD medication, stimulants and non-stimulants.

The result of the larger study was published in the Journal Menopause.

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