By this time, they've learned to manage the complicated dance between the hormonal fluctuations associated with their menstrual cycles and the effectiveness of their ADHD medications. That is, of course, if they were lucky enough to have been diagnosed and treated before the age of 35 which is the average age that many women are diagnosed if they weren't "caught" during their formative years.
As they progressed, they may have taken a low-dose anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication one or two days before their periods in order to better manage emotional highs and lows, to improve concentration and feel more in control.
Oral contraceptives improve ADHD symptoms by leveling out hormonal fluctuations. Oral contraceptives are three weeks of estrogen pills and then, one week of progesterone alone. Since progesterone increases cause difficulties in using both reasoning and executive functioning and undermines emotional stability, at least knowing "when" these events are going to happen, gives us a chance to "manage the damage".
You may notice that the ADHD symptoms worsen during the initial months after conception. As you move through the pregnancy, make certain your doctors consult with one another about how to help you manage the ADHD while protecting your baby.
Please remember to ask about nursing and ADHD medications, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety agents. When you nurse, you are still sharing your body with your baby.
The quality of your family life is heavily dependent on your ability to use seriously intense executive functioning skills.
Executive functioning skills are essential to life. The area of the brain responsible for these skills is the prefrontal cortex which is right behind your forehead.
The prefrontal cortex has multiple roles. It is responsible for:
- Decision making
- Moderating social behavior including inhibiting unacceptable behaviors
- Starting tasks
- Completing tasks
- Shifting both cognitively and behaviorally
- Working memory
- Organizing materials
- The seat of your will to live
If you're like most working mothers, you don't dare leave work without wondering if you have everything you need for dinner, and ask yourself, "Is the milk still good? What about the bread?" These are executive functioning skills working in your daily life.
Let's face it, you are your family's frontal lobe. You organize everybody and everything, including the pets. If you have undiagnosed or untreated Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, consider exploring your options. You can live a more fulfilled life.
Want to learn more? Read the ADHD "tutorial" I've written. Take the time. You're worth it, after all.
Need more resources for girls and women with ADHD? Refer to this post.
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