Frenzied, Frazzled and Overwhelmed: The Interaction of Hormones and ADHD in Women in Midlife

Original Air Date September 28, 2022 | 2:00 - 3:00 PM EDT


Carol Robbins PhD

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Many women struggle at midlife with undiagnosed and untreated ADHD complicated by hormonal changes, which often span two decades. They typically report feeling overwhelmed, inadequate, misunderstood, and distressed at a time in their lives when they often have the greatest demands on their time and energy. Their problems can be exacerbated by the denial of the existence of ADHD in high-functioning women by many physicians, mental health practitioners, and members of the public. These women frequently get the runaround, getting treated for stress, anxiety, or depression by their primary care physicians without any recognition of the underlying neurological condition that is at the root of it. They continue to struggle and suffer in silence.

Many perimenopausal women experience hormone-related cognitive symptoms that can exacerbate underlying ADHD, which may have previously been considered subclinical (not fully meeting diagnostic criteria) or more manageable. These middle-aged women are left wondering why they now feel so overwhelmed and like the are “losing it.” They even wonder if it is early onset Alzheimer’s. It’s ADHD squared—the exponential effect of low estrogen plus low dopamine.

This presentation will help participants understand the impact of hormones on ADHD, learn strategies to optimize brain functioning, and make lifestyle changes to improve their overall well-being. Dr. Carol Robbins will help you understand the effects of hormonal changes in women at midlife, describing the impact on underlying ADHD symptoms as they navigate the exponential effect of low estrogen plus low dopamine. Many such women feel overwhelmed, stressed, and misunderstood, especially as the physicians to whom they turn often treat only the secondary stress and anxiety, missing the underlying ADHD. You will learn ways to optimize brain functioning, make important lifestyle changes, and use effective compensatory strategies to enhance well-being. Move from shame and self-blame to self-understanding and empowerment.

About the Presenter

Carol Ann Robbins, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD across the lifespan. She is the clinical director of the Annapolis ADHD Center, and she has served as coordinator of the Anne Arundel County (Maryland) chapter of CHADD since 2002. Dr. Robbins is a seasoned speaker, presenter, and author, as well as past president of the Maryland Psychological Association (MPA) and coordinator of the MPA Post-Doctoral Institute on ADHD Across the Lifespan.

For questions, please email training@chadd.org.