By Jeff Copper, MBA, PCC, PCAC, CPCC, ACG – October 16, 2023
As we age, we have memory loss, and hormonal changes present some attention deficit symptoms. This can get confusing. So, how can you tell the difference between ADD symptoms and age or hormonal changes? It’s a tough question. But the ADDiva, Linda Roggli (https://addiva.net) has a lot to say about it.
Many women who experience menopausal symptoms are in complete denial. They don’t want to think it may be true because they would have to admit they are getting older. But when they begin to have trouble putting their words together or even remembering how to pronounce some words, they may think these issues are related to attention deficit disorder. This brings on shame or self-blame or even fear of being around others when these issues come up, especially in business situations.
But realizing eventually that something has to be done, more than likely they will give in and go to see their doctor, asking for ADD meds. A wise physician, however, will recognize the symptoms and instead refer them to their gynecologist for estrogen replacement.
Women need to do their own research to see if that type of treatment would work for them. Obviously, this treatment for hormonal issues could become quite serious in some conditions, such as with cancer, so their doctor should always be the one to make the determination whether hormone replacement is the answer.
But even though estrogen is usually related to women’s issues, men’s hormones drop with age, also. Men often are diagnosed with ADHD at a later age, partly because of awareness but also because with age we all just generally need more help.
If this issue speaks to you, please check out my video, “ADHD Information: Is It ADD, Age, or Hormonal Changes?” Why not do your own research and get help. It is available. http://youtu.be/RJ_FzS6BYII
JEFF COPPER: Welcome to this edition of Attention Talk Video. I’m your host, attention coach Jeff Copper, and I’m here with Linda Roggli, ADDiva. Welcome to the show.
LINDA ROGGLI: Thank you so much. It’s always a delight to be with one of my favorite people.
JEFF COPPER: Well, you’re one of my favorite coaches. Today, I want to talk about, a lot of people that I’ve talked to or coached, we talk about ADD, and they talk about the aging process. Can you talk to that space a little bit? You’re real smart on this.
LINDA ROGGLI: Actually, I’m smart in it because I am aging. That’s the reason. I have experience.
JEFF COPPER: No, I just want to just be clear. We’ve been talking about aging, don’t talk about old because I don’t like that word.
LINDA ROGGLI: Absolutely. I actually talked to someone the other day who said, “Oh, those middle-aged women.” I about smacked him. Actually, we are not middle-aged women. We are midlife women for everyone out there, just so you-
JEFF COPPER: Very good.
LINDA ROGGLI: … want to know. Or we are aging wonderfully. I have to tell you that what I usually tell people is that I can’t tell the difference sometimes between ADD and A-G-E, which is the ADHD versus age thing. Women tell me all the time that it gets worse as they get older. The truth is, it’s a combination of ADD and A-G-E.
Yet, you know what’s interesting is that it doesn’t really make any difference whether it’s ADD or A-G-E because they have just done a study recently that shows that ADD medication actually helps menopausal women focus better. It sounds like we’re a cure-all for all of those ills.
But the truth is, that memory does decline as we get older, and that doesn’t help our ADD at all.
JEFF COPPER: It’s like a double whammy.
LINDA ROGGLI: It is a double whammy. It’s like ADD on steroids or A-G-E on steroids. That’s why a lot of women at midlife are diagnosed when they hit that. I certainly was. I ran to the doctor saying, “Give me ADD meds.” He said, “No, you need estrogen because that’s what’s wrong.” I said, “Okay.” Actually, I didn’t say okay because that was the Women’s Health Initiative. So we had all that … or estrogen stuff. We’ll talk later about that.
JEFF COPPER: That’s interesting. You were diagnosed later. At first, they were talking about hormones before they got to the ADHD …
LINDA ROGGLI: If you want the real chronology, I was diagnosed with ADHD and I denied it. I was in complete denial for years. Then when I hit that change of life, my brain disappeared. I tell everybody I was “dain bread.” Not brain dead, “dain bread.” I was. I couldn’t put two words together and create a sentence. It was terrible. I was afraid to have conversations with my business associates because I was afraid I would suddenly go off on some tangent and I would lose clients that way. So I just stayed home and talked to my dog, who didn’t mind if I forgot their name, though my husband minded a little bit more. But I stayed home a lot.
I said, “I’ve got to do something about this.” I went to my doctor and I said, “I need the ADD meds. I finally believe it. I’ve got it. I get it.” He said, “Nope, women of this age do not need ADD medication. You need estrogen. Go get some.” I said, “Can you give me some?” He said, “No, go to your OB-GYN.”
That was the time when the Women’s Health Initiative had just come out. No, no one takes estrogen. It was a bad thing. Gradually, I began to realize over a period of years that estrogen really isn’t so bad. That’s just for me. I am not at all advocating this, but it worked for me. It restored my brain again. The Women’s Health Initiative has been found to have some flaws in it, so I encourage women to do their own research about this to see whether it works for them.
Obviously, if you have a hormonally related issue like cancer or something like that, you don’t want to do that. But what happened for me was that I did end up taking estrogen and hormone replacement, but I also ended up moving into gradually taking ADD medication. Now look how wonderful I am.
JEFF COPPER: It’s wonderful, wonderful. Linda, the reason I wanted to have on the show is I’m sure there’s people out there that are hitting this life and they’re wondering what’s going on. They’re searching for information.
LINDA ROGGLI: Oh, it’s terrible.
JEFF COPPER: What I like about you and what you just shared is you kind of say, “Hey, you’re not the only one that’s out there. This is a part of the process.”
LINDA ROGGLI: Exactly.
JEFF COPPER: There’s help and there’s hope at this point in time, so just do the research and understand what’s best for you and go from there.”
LINDA ROGGLI: That’s absolutely right. I just want to end with one quick thing, and that’s not just about women. I know estrogen is usually about women, but men’s hormones drop, not as precipitously as women’s, but we all go through that, “Who am I and what did I say last?” and all that kind of stuff. Men often get diagnosed with ADHD at a later age, if you will, as well. Partly that’s because of awareness, but also it’s because we just need more help and why not get it?
JEFF COPPER: It’s interesting that you say that because more and more I’m coaching adults that have been diagnosed later in life. I think it’s a combination of the age thing, but also maybe career transitions and stuff where that prompts it because our world is becoming much more self-service and it’s more and more difficult.
For those out there that would like to learn more about you, your website, it’s addiva.net?
LINDA ROGGLI: Yeah, A-D-D-I-V-A dot N-E-T, addiva.net, because that is the ADDiva Network. You can find more about the aging process and my own journey through that in my book, Confessions of an ADDiva: Midlife in the Non-Linear Lane, which won first prize last year in the Independent Book Awards.
JEFF COPPER: It did, and if you’re watching this video, go search in the Attention Talk Video archives for Meet the Neurotransmitters and see the brilliance of Linda with her cartoons. She’ll introduce you to her friends, and you’ll understand them like never before.
LINDA ROGGLI: Exactly right because I need all the friends I can get. I don’t know about you.
JEFF COPPER: Well, Linda, thank you very much for coming to the show, all right?
LINDA ROGGLI: I’m so glad to be here. Do I get to kiss you again?
JEFF COPPER: Sure. All right. Take care, everybody.