ADHD Diagnosis in Adults Contributes to Overall Increase

Posted on : 30 Oct 2016 | 4 Comments

ADHD diagnosis in adults does not reveal a character weakness or intellectual inadequacy.

Did you grow up during the ‘50s or 60s and are having trouble focusing? Dr. David Goodman at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine has recently seen a number of patients worried about dementia, but who in fact had symptoms of ADHD. Diagnoses of ADHD are rising, partially due to increased diagnoses of adults with the disorder.  Over the past few decades, awareness of ADHD has increased, but a large number of adults were not diagnosed as children.

Dr. Lenard Adler, a psychiatry professor from the New York University School of Medicine, has noted that children with ADHD symptoms often grow up to be adults with ADHD symptoms, and that this is the case for 60% of children with ADHD. Older adults confronting an inability to focus who remember that they struggled in a similar way during their youth may have an undiagnosed case of ADHD, especially if any of their children or grandchildren have been diagnosed with the disorder. Goodman reported seeing cases just like this, where older patients are diagnosed with ADHD following the diagnosis of younger members of their family.

Goodman sees diagnoses of ADHD in adults as promising, the beginning of a success story rather than more to worry about. “It’s liberating [to those diagnosed] to realize the impairments are the result of a treatable disorder and not a character weakness or intellectual inadequacy,” he said.

While a correct diagnosis is beneficial to adults with ADHD, they are often treated with the same medications given to children with symptoms of the disorder. Unlike most children, older adults often have medical complications – such as heart disease and/or high blood pressure. As ADHD medications are often stimulants, they risk interfering with the other health issues older adults face. The good news is that there are drug-free methods to treating ADHD symptoms – to learn more, click here.


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