Linda RoggliMenopause and Midlife ADD - The Surprising Connection Between ADD and AGE For Women
Now that you're over 40, those once-in-a-while memory lapses have taken on a life of their own. Remembering birthdays? Finding your car keys? Keeping up with the conversation? Some days, it's no problem but increasingly, it's as if your mind has taken a vacation to some foggy distant location (the name, of course, escapes you).
Are you losing your mind? Is it early onset Alzheimer's? Do you have ADD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD)? The answer to the first two questions is: probably not. The answer to the last one? It's possible.
Many of the symptoms experienced by women as they move through menopause mimic symptoms of ADD. And many symptoms of ADD are exaggerated by the physical changes that occur during menopause, leading to ADD diagnoses in women who are usually stunned. "The possibility of ADD never even entered my mind, but it sure explains a lot!" said one newly diagnosed woman.
Blame it all on our good friend, Ms. Estrogen. As women move into their late 30s and 40s, Ms. Estrogen indulges in her own private midlife crisis. Aware that the end is near, she takes our bodies for a wild and crazy joy ride. Estrogen levels skyrocket to dizzying heights, then plummet to the lowest depths. The accompanying mood swings and emotions that mirror the roller coaster ride are disconcerting, to say the least.
Mood swings, memory lapses and lack of focus are directly affected by Ms. Estrogen. Brain cells, specifically neurotransmitters that help with memory and concentration are also friends with the divine Ms. E. When she's pumping out an overdose of her magical elixir, our tiny neurotransmitters bridge the gap between neurons on cue. When she takes a rest, our neurons keep firing, but the message is a bit garbled.
Since ADD is a disorder of those neurotransmitters that cause skewed communication between and among those brain cells in the brain, it's easy to see how ADD symptoms are similar to those of AGE: distractibility, inattention, procrastination, lack of follow through, irritability.
So how can you tell whether you are just going through "menopausal madness" or have the ADDed bonus of ADD? Only a well-trained psychologist or psychiatrist can accurately diagnosis ADD. And there is no litmus test: no evaluation is 100% accurate because ADD manifest in so many different ways.
One important factor, however, is your personal history. Even if you are diagnosed at midlife, ADD has been your constant companion since birth. You have managed to deal with your ADD through strategies that are unique (and often unknown) to you -- which is the reason it has been hidden from view.
As a young girl, you probably didn't fit the typical ADD profile because girls have different symptoms than boys. You likely stayed in your seat at school, might have gotten good grades, either talked a lot or were daydreaming in the back row. But you probably felt out of step, like you didn't "fit in" with your peers.
As you and your doctor take a look at your history, it's important to notice how ADD-ish tendencies manifested for you (if they did). For an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will want to know how those tendencies impacted your life, to what extent did they cause your difficulty. Only then can you move forward to effective treatment.
If your memory lapses and lack of concentration are plain old menopause, relax. Things will improve with time. And if you discover you have ADD plus AGE, relax. You're in good company. There are effective treatments. And you have plenty of years left to create a life that works with your ADD instead of against it!
This article was written by Linda Roggli. To get more great advice from Diva Toolbox Media Diva Linda Roggli, visit her website at: http://www.lindaroggli.com/