ADHD Insights: Hormones Matter

ADHD Insights: Lead Toxic ADHD
September 8, 2012
ADHD Insights: Neurotransmitter Chickens
September 10, 2012

Estrogen, Thyroid and Adrenal Levels Matter 

English: Location of major endocrine glands

Immune system challenges and trace element imbalances both significantly effect various hormone levels, which in turn appear symptomatically as ADHD.  If clinicians don't consider these underlying factors two downstream effects regularly occur:

  1. ADHD meds work quite unpredictably – as hormone imbalances interfere with neurotransmitter and medication responses. For example: hypothyroid or low adrenal function frequently show as diminished concentration, but stimulants don't fix hypothyroidism or adrenal fatigue. Stimulants may temporarily correct the symptoms, leaving the underlying issues unresolved. Low thyroid and low adrenal function require specific interventions.
  2. Stimulant meds hide the underlying condition. Example: Estrogen challenges such as estrogen dominance effect moods and significantly change prefrontal cortical executive function. Assessing the underlying hormone levels will provide improved treatment targets and avoid simply symptomatic treatments.

Neither outcome satisfactorily solves the underlying issues.

Best to consider multiple issues rather than remain asleep. So many hormonally related symptoms look like various expressions of ADHD, and both conditions suffer the consequences of label-think.



  1. […] Additions: 163. Lyme Disease 164. Ciguatera Neurotoxins 165. Adrenal Fatigue 166. Estrogen Dominance [PCOS, etc.] 167. IBS – Constipation, Diarrhea [Transit Time under 18 hr or over 24 hr] 168. […]

  2. Phil says:

    Dr. Parker,

    male hormone issues both T and Est I have questions about at end of email

    Background medication information:

    I am a 61 year old male and have ADHD. I have been taking both brand name and generic Concerta (seems safe)..Although I have read that the Generic is not “tuned” well. My sister notices a difference when taking Concerta. However, that brings me to another question

    I looked at the botttle today and the pic of the pill…I was given the brand name by mistake. Glad for that. Alza 54 mgs. I know the delivery system. I was told in brand name Conceerta there is a smal shell (was told it was titanium originall)…a cocktail shaker- amazing deliveriy system.

    The last time I got what was generic Concerta, I crushed it and it did not have the original Concerta delivery system. I crused easily and was filled with a gray powder which appreared to have small time release bits within. Is it legal for them to call this generic concerta without the brand name Concerta delivery system?

    I may speak to my doctor albout plain delivery methalphenidate which is much cheaper.

    NOw: HORMONES: I am concerned with my male estradiol (sp) levels. Also thinking about topical Testosterone…I am aware it may dump to the estradiol side..long story short…he also give me a VERY small dosage of the medication women take for estrogen cancer reasons.

    Bottom line, as we know, everyone is different, but if I am actively giving blood samples for PSA, etc, do you have any opinon on these topical gels..have not had my T level monitored for quite a while.

    Thank you for reading with ultra-hyper scattered email..of meds right now..

    Alza mgs…having heard of the unique delivery system,

    • Phil,
      Have no personal experience w the questions you ask about generic Concerta, so have to pass. I’m sure it’s legal, or it wouldn’t be out there. Many generics don’t meet the efficacy of the brands.

      On the T question: The T Topical Gel can help with T levels, no doubt. Dosage and management requires more careful assessment and overview from your local doc – more effective than my weighing in with general remarks here. If your estrogen levels are up do keep an eye on PSA, and consult with someone who understands the detailed specifics of your personal medical situation.

  3. Nicole says:

    Dr. Parker
    I have been taking 15mg of adderall twice a day until may of last year when I found out I was pregnant. I had the baby in January and restarted my Meds. I have been having problems with it and my doctor can not figure out why. It not longer help with my concentration it makes worse I get a horrible headache behind my eyes and forehead and I can’t sleep at all. I also have hypothyroidism and take 100micrograms every morning and I’m also on Wellbutrin 150mg twice a day. These medications have not changed since I got pregnant. After reading a lot about my Meds on your page why is the adderall not helping me. Could it be my thyroid or Welbutrin? How far apart would you recommend taking synthroid and adderall in the morning? I am frustrated and feel even more depressed and don’t know how to approach this. Do you think it could be hormones from pregnancy? Please help!
    Thank you

    • Nicole,
      In a word: yes — your dilemma could arise from any of these matters – most likely hormones from estrogen to thyroid, to perhaps adrenal. You best next step is to find someone wherever you live who can truly evaluate these important questions. You very likely have a sub-clinical level issue and often a saliva hormone level and review of TPO and rT3 for thyroid, Vit D could be off. Don’t forget immunity testing as birth can throw off that entire coping/rebound situation – IgG.

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