159: ADHD, Perimenopause and Menopause with Dr. Susan Varghese

Jun 30

I’m sure you’ve heard me say a million times that our best purposes give meaning to our past, we become incredible teachers when we’re driven by passion and personal connection. My guest this episode, Dr. Susan Varaghese, knows firsthand just how important that personal connection is for living her purpose.

Dr. Varghese is a General Practitioner and Family Physician who first discovered she has ADHD when perimenopause started to wreak havoc on her previously managable symptoms. As far as Susan could tell, no one in the medical community was talking about how much perimenopause and menopause can exacerbate the mental and physical symptoms of ADHD, so, being the leader she is, she decided to do it herself.

Join me this episode for an insightful conversation with the incredible Dr. Susan Varghese, where she breaks down the role estrogen plays in our ADHD symptoms, the overlaps between ADHD and menopause (some of which even surprised me!), and so much more.





"I think hope is what most women in their mid-lives need when they struggle with these things, and when the double whammy of perimenopause, hormones, ADHD, all of these things hit you, you really don’t know where to go and you lose hope. And once you start losing hope, the hopelessness can lead to depression, it can lead to anxiety symptoms, so recognizing these things early is the key." 
-  Dr. Susan Varghese

"Whatever you believe in, you have to have the balls to get out there and do it. There’s only one way to know if it’ll work. If it works, it works, if it fails, it fails, and there’s always a next step or a next thing you can do."
-  Dr. Susan Varghese

"I think if you know yourself better, you have more compassion and patience with yourself."
-  Dr. Susan Varghese

[00:00 - 25:16] ADHD and Perimenopause Symptoms

  • Dr. Susan shares her personal journey with ADHD and perimenopause, highlighting the challenges of navigating medical professionals and finding reliable information.
  • Dr. Susan discusses her experience with ADHD and perimenopause, noting that she always felt different and driven, but symptoms like brain fog and procrastination became more pronounced during perimenopause.
  • Dr. Susan emphasizes the importance of taking breaks and having personal space, especially during perimenopause, to maintain mental health and prevent learned helplessness.

[25:16 - 34:12] Childhood, ADHD, and Menopause Management

  • Dr. Susan discusses her childhood experiences with ADHD, including impulsivity and inattention, and how she found ways to cope through activities like dance and language learning.
  • Dr. Susan shares insights on how to reduce ADHD symptoms and balance hormones in patients with perimenopause or menopause issues, based on her work with patients who have experienced exacerbated ADHD symptoms due to hormonal changes.
  • Dr. Susan emphasizes the importance of a holistic approach to menopause management, involving multiple specialists and a generalist who can break down complex information into a digestible format.

[34:12 - 55:32] Hormone Replacement Therapy and ADHD Treatment

  • Dr. Susan discusses integrating hormone replacement therapy and ADHD medication for women, noting the importance of cultural understanding and tailoring treatment to individual needs.
  • Dr. Susan explains that trauma can affect hormone replacement therapy and ADHD medication effectiveness in women, and resolving trauma through therapy or interventions can improve treatment outcomes.
  • Dr. Susan highlights the importance of identifying underlying mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, that may be comorbid with ADHD in women, and addressing these conditions for optimal treatment outcomes.

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Instagram: @drsusanvarghese
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Hi, I'm Tracy

I teach Smart Ass ADHD women how to use their brilliant brains to build the life they want by embracing their too-muchness and focusing on their strengths.