The Menopause and ADHD both crave Dopamine - how I tricked my mind.
Here is a great article about the Menopause and ADHD.
We have copied the full article here
I am sure that the M word will turn off a lot of readers, as it might not apply to them, or many people find it a crusty subject (men in particular), but if you are in the Drinks market like me, it is so important to learn about this link and age group of women and background as to why we are drinking. Plus Lifestyle Journos, can we talk about this more pls? Feel free to message me.
So I wanted to write a quick piece about my journey with Miss.Menopause, undiagnosed ADHD & Creating Mooze 12% to moderate my drinking.
Little was known about the impact of Hormones on ADHD until the 90’s.
I am 48, live in Essex, UK and founder of a Lower 12% Alcohol Drink brand. I started Peri-Menopause at 45, meaning my Oestrogen started dropping relatively early. I didn’t realise I had ADHD however, until Lockdown. And that was a pure stumbling fluke.
The AHA moment came when I read Zoe Kessler’s brilliant book about her being diagnosed at 46, where she says ‘ADHD is neither a curse or a blessing’. I personally don’t set fire to things, spit, or get into fights. I was extremely high performing at school. Not ‘the naughty’ kid /aka ADHD young boy.
ADHD is linked to low levels of a neurotransmitter called Dopamine, the ‘happy hormone’, also the hormone associated with memory, learning and your motor system. Oestrogen stimulates Dopamine production, so the Menopause has been brutal to me by depleting it even more, it robbed me of something which I was already lacking. I really thought I had the early onset of Dementia or Alzheimer’s.
My ADHD already causes me (but no one knew including me): Difficulty in Concentrating, Poor Memory and Cognitive Deficiencies, but I realise now my symptoms worsened, depending on where I was in my menstrual cycle. As these are also major symptoms of the Menopause, I became doubly affected. When my Menopause started, these exacerbated symptoms could mean a useless day indeed – perhaps it should have been seen as a ‘self care’ day on reflection.
Researcher and author Patricia Quinn, MD wrote the brilliant book, ‘Understanding Women with ADHD’ and writes that ‘the changes in Oestrogen levels at puberty, childbirth and again at Menopause can dramatically impact a woman’s ADHD symptoms, along with her ability to function. Similar fluctuations related to a woman’s menstrual cycle can worsen both ADHD symptoms and symptoms of PMS due to Oestrogen levels changing depending on your cycle’.
Why didn’t I know this?
It is now painfully obvious why my ADHD has become so much worse over the last 3 years, due to the Menopause– but ironically, I was too busy looking after everyone else at my business and too distracted to focus on me, so I never thought to type in ADHD and Menopause into Google.
What do people with ADHD or going through the Menopause do to increase Dopamine levels? They often self medicate to get that feeling of happiness. We stimulate ourselves through Addictions that release Happy Hormones: Drinking, Smoking, Drugs, Sex, Exercise, Shopping, anything that tops up our brain ‘reward centre’. My stimulation was Booze. During Lockdown 1.0, I drank too much.
HRT can also help if you have ADHD, because the medicine gives you Oestrogen which triggers Dopamine – so after talking to my Doctor, I started taking HRT in December 2020. That is my choice, lets see how it goes.
Women drink with or without ADHD, using drink to regulate emotions. Why were so many women of Menopausal age, drinking with or without ADHD present? The news talks constantly about this very worrying group of drinkers now. DOPAMINE HITS of course.
During a woman’s menstrual cycle, changes in hormone levels affect the rate at which a woman becomes intoxicated. Alcohol metabolism slows down during the premenstrual phase of a woman’s cycle (right before she gets her period), which causes more alcohol to enter the bloodstream and the woman to get drunker faster. (Source: WinchesterHospital.org)
Heavy Drinking during Menopause is dangerous full stop. Alcohol can act as a trigger for some of the symptoms of the Menopause, such as hot flushes and night sweats (as it raises your body’s temperature), sleep problems and weight gain.
The name Mooze was the fusion of Moderation + Booze, but perhaps it can also be Menopause + Booze? If you are Menopausal and looking for a lower alcohol alternative, then why not try Mooze 12%? No compromise on taste, the right mouth feel and just 18 calories per pour – your body will thank you. Mine did.