ADHD Symptoms

Inside the Aging ADHD Brain

The latest research on how the ADHD brain changes over time. Plus the differences among normal aging, mild cognitive impairment, early dementia, and some classic attention deficit symptoms, and why it is never too late to be diagnosed and treated for ADHD.

How I Saved My ADHD Marriage
How I Saved My ADHD Marriage

After more than 40 years of psychoanalysis, behavioral therapy, and bitter frustration, it was a 2006 TV talk show that finally pointed 63-year-old Zophia in the right direction.

“Everyone told me there was nothing wrong with me,” she said. “But I had such yearning, such anguish inside. I wanted to excel, but something was holding me back.” Zophia flipped on the TV one Saturday morning, and the host launched into a frank confession about her own ADHD. “The more I heard, the more I knew she was talking about me, too,” said Zophia.

She made an appointment with a local psychologist, who ordered a battery of eight one-hour tests. The conclusion was unambiguous: ADHD. “After I found out about ADHD, I thought, ‘Gee, Zophia, why didn’t you come up with that answer a long time ago?'”

For John Washbush, the road to diagnosis took seven decades. “For 70 years, I lived my life day-by-day in the dark, totally clueless,” he said. “I got the same instructions as everyone else, I went through the same motions as everyone else, but rarely did I get the same results.”

[“If Only I’d Known This 20 Years Ago”]

In his early 60s, he suspected he had ADHD, but it was still a long road to the official verdict. “I was diagnosed at 70 and took my first dose of Ritalin on my 72nd birthday,” he said. “I knew within 20 minutes that I was on a path to discovering the real me.”

Your Brain on Attention Deficit

Zophia and John are among a growing number of older adults who are being diagnosed with ADHD at 40, 50, 60, and beyond. Clinicians report a steady increase in requests for ADHD testing by bewildered yet determined adults who grew up in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, when ADHD was rarely recognized in children, let alone adults.

There is a lack of hard data on the aging ADHD population. Most researchers are reluctant to add the confounding factor of age (50+) to ADHD studies. A few pioneering studies from around the world indicate that the prevalence of ADHD among older adults (ages 45-85) is probably about 3 percent, slightly lower than the estimated 4.4 percent prevalence among adults up to age 44. The prevalence for children is estimated at 8 to 9 percent.

Like Zophia and John, most older ADHD adults have spent years trying to answer a question: “What’s wrong with me?” Most have been previously diagnosed with other psychological disorders, most frequently mood disorders and learning difficulties. ADHD coexists with several other conditions, so the original diagnoses were probably accurate but were incomplete.

Identifying ADHD can be tricky at any age. There is no blood test or brain scan that reveals latent ADHD. Instead, behavioral markers gathered through in-depth intake interviews are the gold standard for clinicians evaluating ADHD (as well as other psychological disorders). For a clinical diagnosis of ADHD, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) requires six impairing symptoms in children and adolescents age 17 and younger. For adults over the age of 17, only five symptoms are required. ADHD may present differently in older adults, leading some researchers to suggest that even fewer symptoms might be appropriate for diagnoses of the 40-plus crowd.

It is challenging to evaluate older adults for ADHD because the normal aging process mimics some classic ADHD symptoms. ADHD symptoms, in turn, overlap with some telltale signals of mild cognitive impairment and early dementia. A clinician has her hands full sorting out the differences.

[Signs of Adult ADHD? Or Old Age?]

Normal cognitive aging begins in our mid-30s, when brain processing speed and motor response time start their gradual slowdown. In the mid-40s, our verbal and mathematics reasoning starts to fade. Selective attention — focusing on a specific thing while ignoring irrelevant information — also declines with age. The same is true for working memory, our ability to retrieve a recent thought or idea after being momentarily distracted.

Many executive functions diminish as we age — inhibiting our responses (thinking before we act) and our reactions to motor stimuli (safely driving a car). Geriatric researchers report a higher incidence of driving accidents among older adults, some attributed to normal aging, others to dementia, poor vision, medical problems, and/or medications.

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a more serious condition, but in its early stages, its symptoms are also similar to normal aging. People with MCI have trouble remembering names of people they met recently or keeping up with the flow of a conversation. They have a tendency to misplace things, problems with organization and planning, trouble with attention and focus, a slowdown of language skills, and impaired executive function.

If this partial list of issues that swirl around aging and cognitive impairment sounds familiar, it’s because it touches on many symptoms of adult ADHD. ADHD brains tend to process information more slowly (possibly because they are churning through dozens of possible outcomes). Twenty to 30 percent of ADHD children and adults have a learning disability, with mathematics, verbal learning, and reading problems as the most common challenges.

Working memory glitches plague virtually all adults with ADHD, as do attention issues. A 2014 study showed that drivers with ADHD were 50 percent more likely to be involved in a serious car crash, although the researchers excluded adults over the age of 46. Executive function — planning, organization, follow-through, and time awareness — is a continuing challenge for children and adults with ADHD. Adults with the condition misplace things, and have trouble with attention and keeping up in conversations.

It’s not surprising, then, that older adults, with normal cognitive aging challenges, jump to the seemingly logical conclusion that they have “developed” ADHD. The truth is there is no “adult onset” ADHD. It doesn’t “develop.” ADHD starts at birth and continues, largely unchanged, through a person’s life.

“Clinicians working with older adults who have trouble focusing tend to overlook ADHD as a contributing factor,” said Anthony Rostain, M.D., professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania. “The salient feature is the difference between someone who has never had ADHD symptoms but now is more forgetful versus someone who has always been distracted.”

[Free Download: What Every Thorough ADHD Diagnosis Includes]

The consistent marker for ADHD is longevity of symptoms. If Mom yelled because your room was a mess, if you were fired from your first job because you were consistently late, ADHD might be the reason. On the other hand, if you were organized and neat until midlife, when things began to fall apart, you may be experiencing normal aging.

Complicating a later-life diagnosis for women is the influence of a powerful female hormone, estradiol, one of three estrogens active in women’s bodies. Estrogen/estradiol acts as the strong supporting cast in the brain to sensitize neural receptors to make better connections between key neurotransmitters: norepinephrine and dopamine. Norepinephrine and dopamine help maintain alertness, focus, and motivation.

“It was Alzheimer’s research that revealed the effect of estrogen on the brain,” said Patricia Quinn, M.D., a developmental pediatrician and founder of ADDvance, for ADHD women and girls. “If you lower estrogen, you lower dopamine and norepinephrine, which, in turn, lowers cognitive function. That holds true for all women. For ADHD women, lower estrogen means their symptoms get worse. They aren’t just imagining it; it’s a biological fact.”

Quinn reports that many women are diagnosed with ADHD in their late 30s or 40s during perimenopause, the years before actual menopause. At perimenopause, estrogen abandons its regular monthly ebb and flow and does an erratic fan dance. As time goes on, estrogen goes missing more often, bringing ADHD symptoms front and center.

“A lot of women come forward who ‘think’ they have ADHD,” said Quinn. “They are losing things, they are disorganized, but they were perfectly fine before perimenopause. Then it becomes a question of ‘is it ADHD or is it menopause?'” In addition, women who are over 40 have extra stress. They often belong to the “sandwich generation,” caring for parents, children, and/or grandchildren. They may be grieving over a divorce or the death of a spouse, or they may have emerging health problems of their own.

“The demands on women are incredible,” said Rostain. “If your [ADHD] brain is trying to function at its upper limit, and suddenly you are not able to mount that extra effort because estradiol is no longer around to facilitate neurotransmission, you will be more tired and things will take longer than before.” His ADHD patients report that they feel that they have regressed to their pre-treatment ADHD level.

Hormone issues for ADHD men are less dramatic; estrogen levels, while lower than in women, remain constant for men until age 70. Testosterone, however, decreases gradually, leading to more intense mood swings, sleep disturbances, and cognitive decline. “Twice as many men as women come in to our clinic seeking a possible diagnosis of ADHD,” said Rostain.

Treatment Tools

Stimulant medications are still the ADHD treatment of choice for older adults. “Children, adolescents, and adults respond at the same dosage ranges, and they all have the same side effects,” said William Dodson, M.D., a psychiatrist and founder of the Dodson ADHD Center, in Greenwood Village, Colorado. There has been some concern over cardiac issues, but, with the proper dosage, Dodson believes that almost anyone can take stimulants safely. He cites three large studies conducted by the FDA that found no increased risk of stroke or heart problems in people who take ADHD stimulants.

“The rule with stimulant medication is that the right molecule at the right dose should have no effect on the heart,” he said. Many physicians use the lower number of a blood pressure reading (the diastolic pressure) as a sensitive and accurate guide to stimulant dosing. “If the medication is below the optimal dose of stimulant, the number does not change,” he said. “If the dose goes even a few milligrams too high, blood pressure will jump 10 to 15 points.”

Estrogen therapy has proven successful in treating ADHD symptoms at menopause, according to Quinn. “The sooner you start estrogen therapy, the greater the effect on cognitive decline,” she said. For women with ADHD, she recommends “unopposed estrogen,” since progesterone has a negative effect on focus. She cautions that women should add in a course of a progestin at regular intervals to protect against uterine cancer. Postmenopausal ADHD women should consult their doctors about continuing hormone therapy, especially those with a history of vascular problems or cancer.

“Women now spend one third of their lives in postmenopause,” said Rostain. “What used to be easy becomes difficult, but if you have ADHD, it’s doubly difficult.” Both doctors strongly recommend that women maintain their regimen of ADHD treatment along with estrogen therapy, if therapy is chosen. “To maintain effective treatment, ADHD women should expect to make changes in their treatment regimen throughout their lifetime,” said Quinn.

Since older adults often take other medications for unrelated health problems, drug interactions are an important consideration in ADHD treatment. “The first-line stimulants and the alpha agonists (clonidine, guanfacine) can be taken with most commonly prescribed medications,” said Dodson.

Conversely, some non-ADHD medications cause deficits in attention and information processing (tricyclic antidepressants, antihistamines), according to a 2012 Canadian study. As always, talking with your doctor is the best way to ensure effective treatment for all illnesses and disorders.

Is It Too Late for Me?

Older adults who suspect they have ADHD are sometimes skeptical of the value of a full-fledged diagnosis. “Is it even worth it at age 73, when I am functioning OK?” asked Arnold.

The answer depends on life circumstances. An ADHD diagnosis is absolutely necessary for medical treatment of symptoms. Testing, pharmaceutical treatment, psychotherapy, and other behavioral interventions require a diagnosis if they are to be covered by medical insurance. Age should never be a deterrent to an ADHD evaluation or treatment.

“Cognitive impairment is serious,” said Rostain. “When an older adult comes into the clinic, he or she deserves the same workup to determine what’s going on as anyone else.”

Most important, treatment of midlife and senior ADHD can change lives, as it did for John Washbush, now 75 years old. “It’s as if I have been on a strict emotional consumption plan, and some of my lifelong habits don’t fit me any more,” he said. “My handwriting is noticeably different (since my diagnosis and treatment). I bought anchovies for the first time in 40 years, and I’m going to try them on pizza.”

Finding out about ADHD at midlife or older can be devastating, or it can open doors to long-discarded dreams. “To have ADHD as long as I have had it, to carry that with your aspirations and dreams is very painful,” said Zophia, now 72 years old. “But that strong desire to make a difference in the world has been reawakened. I’m not going to give up. To my last breath, I will move toward my goals!”

39 Related Links

  1. Oh dear, even before I start my story…I ran off to find a pen? Lol.
    Ok, I’m a 48 year old woman and am still undiagnosed. I can relate to nearly every story posted on this site, I’ve done countless ADHD quizzes in the hope that I’ll get one that gives me a low score…. but my average score is about 94%.
    Oh I wish I knew how to keep my writing brief and to the point, I’m so worried I’ll bore you all.
    Hmmm I might be procrastinating.
    Ok, if I remember I’ll come back and try again when I can focus better. 👍

  2. I was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD several years ago, which really didn’t surprise me since it runs in my family. We just didn’t know what it was until my brother was diagnosed. I think my entire life was difficult because of ADHD, and I could probably write a book about all the messes I got into.

    Now I’m 65 and trying to figure out what will help. I’ve been taking generic Adderall off and on, but having trouble finding the right dose. I was prescribed 10 mg twice a day initially, and that was too much so I cut the pills in half. But that doesn’t seem like enough! Plus, it really gets to me that I need to take a stimulant. And it also gets to me that I go through periods where I’m tired all the time. Getting things done is a real struggle although making a list helps, as long as don’t run out of energy!

    Going through menopause has definitely made things harder even though I do use an estrogen cream several times a week. I often feel like I’m in a fog, including right now. I hope more people will comment on this because I could use some guidance. Thanks!

    1. Hi
      58 diagnosed finally for over a year : finally can even file things correctly! I was prescribed with Ritalin:10 mg was way to high for me so tried 1/2 5mg but like you, not enough. 1.3/4 so 7.5mg for 2 hours is really perfect for me.
      Ive read that there are 6 different types and the drugs work differently for the different disfunctions. Ritalin fits my disfunction – fail totally in the office (my lifetime worktype) – but now with the above mg my work life is a breeze and I am coping like “normal” people good luck ☺

    2. I was diagnosed in my late 40’s. I am not in my 50’s and have been working successfully in a new career. I would never have been able to teach ESL full time in the past even though I have 6 year of post secondary education. My success has been in part been due to medication, working with a therapist, and using cognitive behavioral theory. I still struggle as nothing is a cure-all, but I am definitely happier, more fulfilled career-wise and my spouse better understand why I do things the way I do. I take Concerta which is like a controlled release of Ritalin that lasts for 12 hours without the extreme highs. I would like to encourage anyone with AD(H)D to keep trying. There is help for adults now, and to not expect life to completely change. AD(H)D is a neurological condition that doesn’t go away, but we can learn new coping strategies and there are many new medications to help. There are many great tools found on this site. All the best as you continue your journy. (Myself included)
      CJ

      1. Opps it should say “I am now in my 50’s” Oh, and I still forget my wallet at home when I go shopping and I never know where my keys are. Good thing we never stop learning.

        1. I was diagnosed at 54 and after my first dose of Medication I felt completely different! Happy to say my 19 year old daughter was also diagnosed within 2 months of me and is ecstatic that her meds help her with her studying focus! She is considering being a doctor!

  3. Self diagnosed 2 years ago at 70 confirmed by my MD., after starting Venlafaxine treatment for Major Depression ( my third wife was planning to leave and packing one box at a time placing it in the dinong room. Both my adult son and adult grandson were on adhd meds. Tremendous improvement over time in feel good feelings (about myself) , memory, explosiveness, misplacing things .Unfortunately, a lifelong habit of tackling the hardest most disliked jobs on my list first, faded, along with my energy. I still occasionally lose and forget things. I still runoff at the mouth. And i still have no control over those immediate retorts thatsometimes unintentionally hurt others.. Other times they elicit roars of laughter intentionally and comments of How do you think of those so fast. Minimum dose of Concerta xr was tried but i became more aggressive and i am just taking the Venlafaxine xr now. That foggy feeling has totally disappeared. At work many of the questionable characteristics such as timeliness and forgetfulness and organization were delegated, the problems of being fired were solved by being an independent consultant to many clients and ultimately founding my own company. Sale of the company eventually became essential as my angry bursts were much more often and at people who were essential to the success of the business. Retirement at 60 exposed all of those weaknesses
    After 10 more years of struggle it is safe to say the last have been the best years of my life. Given that dopamine is one of our neurotransmitters in short supply I have joined two more choral groups which brings me to three choirs and 5 days a week of practices and performances. Singing in groups tremendously increases your dopamine production. It also increases your social calendar which when living alone after retirement and divorce is a godsend.
    As to those peccadillos of not achieving everything i want to or appropriately , i am no longer gravely concerned, and accept that some things wont be accomplished. And some characteristics are what make us interesting and unique. And when I blow up at an apparently offensive email at
    1 am in the morning and fire off a wtf response, i accept the consequence of being cut from the “gold ” choir, single performance. Damn Now i wont get that free T-shirt from my fourth one off choir. No worries though. The other 999 performers wont miss me..

    1. You are funny so I kind of want to give you a “thumbs up.” I also have a problem with overreacting at times, especially when it’s someone who annoys me to some extent already! And, I’ve learned to be careful on social media since I hate getting into it with people who feel the need to be so obnoxious!!

    2. I was diagnosed last year at 67. I’ve been in and out of therapy for many years, depression, anxiety, and job and relationship problems, including relationship problems with family all my life.

      When my doctor asked me if anyone has ever suggested ADD, I said yes, but not much follow up from the Physicatrist who prescribed meds but barely looked up at me during our meeting. She gave me Concerta because I went to her in a panic over not getting a grip on another job that I just couldn’t handle and didn’t want to lose, like so many other jobs in my working life.

      I lost the job anyway and just blamed it on bad training, lack of communication from the person training me, etc etc etc

      Years later ( at least 10) when the Phychiatrist I see now observed that it seemed that I all, and I mean all, the symptoms.

      Next visit I had found all of my report cards from high school. Straight D’s in math. Barely C’s in everything except for art, drama, and creative writing.

      It was so shining and clear that I have had ADD since as far back as I can remember. Everything I read, every tape, every test was unbelievable to me. It was like the writers knew me. I still am blown away by stories I read here from other people.

      So clear and such a relief in a way. I always thought I was stupid, lazy and a quitter. Confirmed by my parents, teachers and every single job I’ve ever had.

      I know this is a long “comment” but it’s my first time putting this down in writing.

      Medication really helps, but the life changes and habits Injave to unlearn and relearn are sometimes overwhelming. Slow progress, acknowledging small victories, starting up my own creative business and the support and partnership with my Phychiatrist have changed my life, and The negative self talk is beginning to become less and less.

      Thank you to anyone and everyone who has written, studied ADD as their life’s work, and mostly thank you to everyone who stories have shown me finally I’m not the only person in the world with a brain like this.

      Jackie

  4. Diagnosed with ADHD in my 60’s while getting checked for Depression. Taking Lexapro and Bupropion I’m feeling so perfect. It feels great that my mind is not doing 5 things at once and not completing approx 2 of them. Also I see why things happened back in the past from school hood to early motherhood. My quality of life is now so peaceful. I still see my therapist once a month because I lost my Son-in-law, Husband,and my Dog in that order and it happened in a six month time frame. I have a few Grandchildren with this diagnosis and read on it a great deal but never realized I was seeing myself. I do believe treatment is a value as I’m now in early 70’s and at peace.

    1. First of all, I’m so sorry for your losses. I can’t even begin to imagine how you coped. But thank you for your input because you’ve given me some hope. I’m still struggling, and I get worn out just trying to keep myself on track even though I’m taking Adderall off and on. I have problems with depression, and nothing has worked for me. I just cannot get past the side effects.

      I’ve been to therapy, and it is helpful, but it’s difficult to keep the same person. Now I haven’t been in awhile and it’s really hard to get an appointment. I’m supposed to be able to see a psychiatrist a little sooner, but still waiting to hear. I did manage to see a woman who has a private practice, but I swear she’s flakier than I am!

      I’m with you in looking back at my childhood, and now seeing why I had so many problems. ADHD runs in my family, but no one knew what it was. My youngest brother was so hyperactive that my parents were actually forced to get him into therapy, and even then, it didn’t click with them. I was already out of school and living on my own, so I missed most of that drama. But, I know for certain my dad had a bad case of ADHD now. We were such a dysfunctional family!!

      I just turned 65, and I think getting treatment is just as important as ever. My husband was the one who pushed me, often commenting on my lack of focus. That was when I was 50! My whole family was that way, so it seemed normal to me! One thing I’ve found recently that is very helpful is Eric Tiver’s podcast “ADHD Rewired.” He has some articles in ADDitutde Magazine and some videos on YouTube. Lots of great tips for managing ADHD.

      1. Interesting too that now my (Ritalin) brain has taught me how to put things correctly into play that I am finding that my nondrug assisted brain can see how I did it correctly, and am sometimes able to talk myself through the steps to doing something. Its tiring and repeatative and often dont get to the end but I have seen a slight improvement. With good sleep and food…stay calm…

        1. I’ve been taking Adderall, and not having a lot of success. My doctor told me to take it when I wanted to focus on something. I was originally given 10 mg, and that seemed like too much so I cut it in half, but that didn’t do much of anything. Sometimes I’d take 5 mg and a couple of hours later another 5. Then I started looking at what I should be expecting and experiencing. I did a search on this website, and found some really helpful information. For instance, I didn’t realize it would take me up to two weeks to adjust, and I should be taking it daily. 10 mg didn’t make me feel horrible, just a little edgy and not necessarily more focused. But, I also read that it can also take a couple of weeks to start feeling the benefits, and to be careful with caffeine consumption.

          So yesterday I tried 10 mg and had the typical reaction, but it was only for a fairly small amount of time, and I actually felt much better later in the day when I’m usually dragging myself around. This morning I did the same thing, taking it around 9:45 and I’m feeling a bit wired right now at noon, but not too bad. I feel like I’m getting more done; however, I’m still not staying focused in that I’m here right now instead of getting sheets out of the dryer and making the bed. But, I’ll do that now!

          Oh, and I also downloaded an “ADHD Medication Log” I found on the ADDitude website. It’s supposed to help me figure out if my meds are working.

          1. AnneHW – Thank you for sharing your experience on here, it is so helpful. And PLEASE stop beating yourself up!! You are 65, for goodness sake, if you want to spend time giving some help and support to others – blow getting the sheets back on the bed – what does it matter?. Isn’t it far more beneficial to be reaching out and helping others? Take time to smell the roses, Anne – it will do you far more good than stressing over getting the bed made, and all the other stuff you seem to think is a problem. Just relax, CHILL and enjoy life as it unfolds – that is one of the GOOD things about getting older, and there are not many. I am 69 and have a “boyfriend” of 65 who I am convinced now, after reading all this stuff, has ADD. He seems to have most of the symptoms. He has not been diagnosed, and will not talk to the doctor (or me, for that matter!) – he just self-medicates with copious amounts of booze, to the point of blackkng out. You may be able to see how I am so worried and anxious about him – for five years I have been tryng to understand and find the solution – and now finally I think I have found a missing puzzle piece. Thank you, once again Anne, and everyone on here who takes precious time out of their day to reach out and share with others. That is invaluable – so very, very precious!!! Thank you! I will keep on trying to find a solution. Lorna

  5. Speaking of lack of focus I had convinced my kids now in their late 40us and 50s that these conversational jumps from one subject to the next were “quantum leaps” of logic. I am not sure if they still believe it or just humor me.

  6. Anne HW i will write that book if you finish the one on messes and adventures your ADHD led you into. Howevr you must understand that I have an FBI file that greets me each time i pass fhru customs from when i was 17 and went AWOL as I called it Dessertion as the police man said who told me I would be much better off to walk across the bridge from Fort Erie to Buffalo before turning myself in .The difference in the punishment in those days was death versus a fine and a few days or more in the brig.I chose the latter.

  7. Jonessally68 I am also out of sync on other enzines controlled by my pituatary gland. Thyroid production was over the top and after a few attempts at bringing it down with metimazole they idecded to nuke the gland and i produce none. This is not a problem for millions of us who are hypothyroid as they have had a pill for that for over 50 years. Levothyroxine does the same job and just as well. Once a day.
    Thats what these meds are about. They increase neurotransmitter production or work to keep us From dicarding neurotransmitters Dopamine, Seratonin. And Norepinephrine in our brain. In theory when parts of our brain which communicate with each other dont function as well we start to use different parts not originally intended to perform various functions. Something like nerves do when the pathway to controlling a limb is destroyed . They can be taught a new pathway via other nerves that survived. In our case we restore the actual communications to if not normal, a much better pathway to operate. Its like moving from Dial up connection to the internet to A DSL modem from your cable company of even better Wifi. The messages get through much faster. Our only problems left are the atrophy that those brain parts that arent being used (like any unused muscle) These studies are relatively new so we dont know if these underutilized brain parts (prefrontal Cortex etc.) will return to normal or the meds are just making the replacement parts of the brain work better.

    1. donsense – As I understand it, they now know that the brain is “plastic” and CAN change. But I’m not sure how long it takes. I hear people say all the time “Oh – you can’t change anyone” – but that is so untrue – we CAN change, if we want to, and the brain will readjust.
      I commented to one of your articles on another related blog on here a couple of days ago – I wonder if you got it, and would love to have your response. Thanks for your input – all this is fascinating. Lorna

  8. Say no to Cancer, ADHD, Chronic Pain, Lost of Appetite, Arthritis, Back and Body Pain, Cachexia, Cancer Cramps, Crohns Disease, Fibromyalgia, Gastrointestinal Disorder, Glaucoma, Headaches, IBS, Inflammation, Insomnia, Joint Pain, Migraine, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscle Pain, Muscle Spasms, Nausea, Neck Pain, PMS PMDD, RLS, Seizures.
    MARIJUANA MEDICAL KIT available for a better health .

    FAST AND DISCREET DELIVERIES AVAILABLE
    WITH TRACKING NUMBERS
    (Email== alvinbenton02@gmail.com)

  9. I’ve read through some of the ADHD stories above. My situation is very similar. I was diagnosed with ADHD only two years ago at age 68. I am currently waiting for my primary care physician to give me a local ADHD Psychiatrist referral, so I can obtain a new ADHD medication and possibly begin some counseling sessions. Most of all, I feel that I need to be patient with myself when a symptom event happens. Those closest to me, family and friends, know of my struggle with ADHD and they are very kind and understanding.

    1. ghhorton47 – It is good to hear from you and your experience. Yes, I am sure that being patient with yourself, and the understanding of your family and friends will be of great help. I just wish my 65 year old “boyfriend” could come to the same place in his life as you have. I am sure he has this condition, but he self-medicates with large amounts of alcohol and cigaretes, and I am worried that he will kill himself with them. Lorna

  10. My doctor changed my medication dose from 5 mg twice a day to 7.5, and that seems to be what works. I’m doing a lot better, and I appreciate reading that even with the right dose, It can still be a struggle.

    I’ve been monitoring a number of things that are listed on a chart I got here (I mentioned it somewhere above), and I can definitely see an improvement. But there are times when I do better than others. The best part for me is I haven’t been feeling depressed at all for 3 weeks now. Before that, it seemed like I’d be pretty good for a few days, and then not so good. It was kind of a roller coaster, although my depression wasn’t horrible, mostly annoying because it left me so unmotivated.

    I’m also finding myself a lot less irritable, and I’ve been getting a lot more done without feeling like I need a nap a couple of times a day. Monday’s are usually the worst, and that hasn’t even been a problem. But, yes, I do forget things STILL. It’s not quite as bad, and at least now I don’t feel so irritated with myself!

  11. Greetings all. So I’m 66 years old and have all the benchmarks for ADHD. So far both the psychologist and the psychiatrist who I have seen tell me that I’m just depressed. It’s a good thing that ADDitude exists because it is the step by step articles that are helping me to make the adjustments to my life that have allowed me to get my work and home life organized, even at this late date. So thanks ADDitude and keep up the important work.

    1. That sounds weird. I’ve had one therapist tell me she didn’t believe in it. Otherwise, I’ve had no problems. To be honest, once I got on the right dose of medication, that did a lot to alleviate my depression.

      1. AnneHW – I commented earlier above, but would like to mention how I coped with my severe depression. I “talked” myself out of it. I learned to love myself and appreciate myself for who I am – a lovely, caring, special person who has a lot to offer the world. I dug deep and found the issues and triggers from my past that set me off. Basically, I did not have much self-esteem and self-confidence – having gone through a horrible divorce. I made myself write a “Gratitude Journal” every evening as I got into bed – 3 or more things for which I was grateful that day. And set up a small “alter” on which I placed all the things that meant a lot to me – photos, mementos, etc and sat there when I felt sad – lit candles and played soothing music – and yes, had a drink of alcohol sometimes, even though I do not normally drink – but it helped relax me. I made myself go out and meet new friends – I sing at the folk club and open-mike pub sessions – and gradually I have come through it. I occasionally get a “blip” if something upsets me (like my man-friend and my daughters), but mostly I try not to take things to heart and I DO take time to “smell the roses”. I eat my breakfast ouside at a little table in the sun, surrounded by pretty and nice-smelling flowers and plants, and listening to the birds singing, and that gets me off to a good start for the day. Try to take good care of yourself, give yourself time to relax and enjoy life, love yourself, be self-aware (mindfulness – very helpful!), and STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP. If you don’t love yourself, others will find it hard to do so. Much love to you, and once again, thank you for sharing on here. Best wishes. Lorna x

        1. Hi Lorna, I did not see your earlier response. Sometimes I get responses from this post, but not always. Who knows?! (I checked the box.) I love where you’re at, and admire the work you’ve done, especially since it sounds like you did this on your own. I looked back, and I might have missed something, but do you also have ADHD?

          I think we are all a work in progress, so I think change is possible. But I also think ADHD often includes a combination of symptoms for different people. Perhaps OCD, anxiety, depression, etc. I also think getting enough sleep and having a healthy diet/lifestyle play an extremely important role.

          I’ve kept a journal, and I’ve tried doing the gratitude one (believe me, I’ve got plenty to be grateful for), but for some reason I haven’t been able to stick with that long term. Right now I would love to talk to a good therapist, which can be extremely helpful. Unfortunately, there’s something like a six-month wait!!! And, of course, it seems like by the time I’m actually able to get in, then I don’t feel like I need it!

          It’s not just making the bed (which is easy); it’s all the other things that creep into my life. My husband and I live in the country. We have two horses, two dogs and a cat. He is still working, and that means I pretty much take care of things. We rent some of our land for crops, but I still need to mow pastures and the lawn. I’m not saying he doesn’t do anything, but most of the time I’m dealing with the majority of household issues. I’ve been taking riding lessons, so I haul my horse to a trainer weekly and in between I practice on my own. But, I’m also an artist and I’m taking classes that I would prefer when I’ve finished riding for the season, and right now they’re overlapping. I honestly don’t know how women manage with children!!

          Those are the major things that happen daily. When I start running into problems is the extra things I’m not expecting. I have a really hard time with scheduling and time management, especially when I’m feeling distracted and overwhelmed.

          But, I have a wonderful husband, who is very kind and generous and fun! I seem to be going through a rough patch again, but it will get better! We also have a nice porch/sunroom where I can sit (when I have time) and just watch the horses grazing in the field. I’m certainly grateful for that! Thanks again, Anne

          1. Anne, It was so lovely to get your reply. You sound just like my sort of person. I, too, love animals, love my garden, love painting, love knitting and sewing and love singing. There are not enough hours in the day to do all I want to do. I did have six cats at one time, but have now decided not to have animals, as I like my freedom. I have a huge garden and never seem to have the time and energy to paint any more – but I do want to start again. I also volunteer at a gallery and help the children do crafting.
            What a pity we don’t live nearer (I am in England) as we could sit in the Autumn sunshine and have a lovely cup of calming herb tea together – if we could find the time!!
            I have wondered if I may have a “touch” of ADHD after reading all of this. I never thought of it before. And I never struggled as a child – although I was a bit of a loner, being brought up on a farm in the wilds of Northumberland – I had to entertain myself. Walked for miles with the dogs, picking wild flowers. I am certainly very different from a lot of women, very self-sufficient and never “run with the herd”. I did suffer badly with PMS and Post Natal Depression, due to imbalance of hormones. I love to drive my little open top sports car at 100 on the motorway (don’t tell anyone!!) – but not sure that constitutes ADHD. And I’d love to gallop through the waves on a horse – but I don’t have one! My nephew rides motorbike in the Isle of Man TT trials – so the daredeveil is in the blood. I’ve always been a bit ditzy and scatty – never, ever get places on time – something always “happens”, can’t always find my keys or glasses, can’t be bothered to do the filing until it is really necessary – but I just put it down to having more exciting things to do. Old age does not help – as I am now forgetting where I have put things – especially if I go mad and tidy up – fatal! I have suffered from ME (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) since I was 40 and now fibromyalgia. Then recently I had numerous deer tick bites, and suspect Lyme Disease – although the tests are negative. So this last year I have not been well at all – I’m in a lot of pain, have less energy than usual, headaches and brain fog – keep falling asleep. But I keep battling on.
            You sound very much like my friend in Yorkshire who runs a small-holding. She has sheep and hens now, and I often go to help when they want to go away. Her husband is a wealthy busiess-man and never at home, but she won’t allow anyone in her “space” to help her unless she knows them well (she has OCD and other stuff as well, I believe!! And gets stressed and anxious). They never had children. She has a big garden, too, and loves to grow her own veg. But she is now 72, and thinks she can still do all the things she did when she was 32. I honestly think that is one of our major problems, you know. I, for one, cannot come to terms with getting older – my mother was the same. She became very, very depressed at 80 when she had to give up driving. She never was the same after that. “It’s not me” she used to say, and “Don’t get old”. She used to sit most of the day chain-smoking – having been a very busy farmer’s wife all her life, with 3 children. She died at 92 – a miserable old lady. Unfortunately, we have to grow old (and it certainly beats the alternative!), and it creeps up very slowly, but if we can realize that and take it in our stride instead of getting overwhelmed and trying constantly to still do what we did 40 years ago, maybe we will be less stressed and less depressed.
            You are so very, very lucky to have a wonderful husband. I miss that so much. I thought I had found my new soul-mate in the man I am having problems with (suspected ADD) – but it does not seem to be so now, since we are not in touch after he “blew up” and threw me out last time I was there a few weeks ago. Maybe he will come round, who knows? He certainly needs me, I know that – but he clearly does not! He does not eat well (not at all when he is binging) and gets himself blotto so that he can sleep. Poor love, he desperately needs some help. But, as we know so well – you can take a horse to water but can’t always make it drink!
            Do you not have a good friend you could talk to about how you feel? You know, therapists only get you to look inside yourself and find the answers for yourself – save the money and do some soul-searching. Be honest with yourself and see if you can come up with the reasons why you feel depressed. Sometimes just writing out what comes into your head will help it to flow more easily. Maybe you are – very subconsciously – a bit resentful and angry with your husband for having to do so much yourself? Just a thought. I hope this all helps, and does not feel too much like a lecture. Just remember to stop and smell the roses – even just for a few minutes at a time. And try some herb tea – it is so refreshing, and better than too much caffiene. When you do sit and have your “cuppa” – think of me, and I will think of you. I believe in telepathy, too!! Across the miles you will know there is someone thinking of you and rooting for you. Keep your chin up! Take good care of yourself. And keep smiling – it helps! Best wishes. Lorna x

  12. I don’t see a way to exchange emails privately. If anyone knows, that would be helpful!

    Lorna, I think you have a wonderful attitude, and I love your enthusiasm despite some of your problems. It’s always hard to express yourself the way you would like in a forum, or even through email because it’s often difficult to interpret the intent of the other person’s response. You can’t see them smile or grimace, for instance.

    Yes, getting old sucks! I’m trying to find ways to accept it and at the same time remain active and enjoy my interests. A good friend was over today and we talked about how hard it is to take care of everything. And, yes, there are times when I somewhat resent how busy my husband is, but not too much. Let’s face it, I have a pretty good lifestyle, and a lot of it is thanks to him. However, we were both extremely fortunate that my family was very generous, too.

    I don’t think you have ADHD, but there are always things that overlap. What makes ADHD different is the things we do that impact us on a regular basis that only impact other people occasionally. And, it’s different for everyone. Mine is perfectionism, being easily bored, having trouble sticking with things, time management issues, losing things, listening to someone talk and realize I lost track and missed the last few minutes, etc. Today my girlfriend was telling me how intense I am. But surprisingly, I have no problem making friends and keeping them. Go figure.

    I think aging was very difficult for my dad because he was always so hyper active and needed to be around people. My mother did much better, even though she loved to say, “old age isn’t for sissies!” (I think that was a quote from Marlene Dietrich.) She probably had ADD, but she was so much more laid back and accepting than my father. And, she was actually pretty upbeat right up to the end. I’m worried I won’t be able to do that.

    Friends are wonderful to bounce things off of, and I do get a lot of support. But therapy can also be extremely beneficial. It really helps to talk to someone who is able to be objective. They aren’t my friend or my family, so I don’t have to worry about hurting someone’s feelings and they don’t have to worry about telling me what they think I want to hear. I’ve tried meditation, and it’s good, but hard for me to maintain. I’ve tried the gratitude list, and I get the idea, but it doesn’t help with my other issues. Riding my horse down the trail, in some woods, where all I listen to is birds and feel my horse moving beneath me is wonderful, but that involves the weather and having the time to haul to a place where I can trail ride. I cannot just do that because I feel the need to get away.

    Medication has been helpful, and I know how difficult that is to understand when you are able to function and figure things out for yourself. I’ve honestly struggled with this my entire life, and in the process I’ve made some horrible mistakes. But, thank goodness I’ve had enough energy and intelligence to realize my part in things and look for answers. Part of the reason I’m here!

  13. Anne, it is so lovely to hear back from you – and yes, you can email me, if you wish, at lornagillians@hotmail.co.uk. I don’t mind. My full name came up by mistake on this forum, anyway, so anyone will know it is me commenting. What the hell!! My boyfriend’s female “friend” Googled me a while back and found a comment I’d made about my situation with him floating around on the internet – so there is no real privacy on here.
    I’m glad you can talk things over with a friend. And I still say you are beating yourself up too much!! We ALL have failings. I, too, am a perfectionist. I was told that at age 13 by a teacher. I used to think it was good, but recently have realized it is not always so, and I try to be more “laid back” now about things that bother me. I, too, get easily bored – but I thought that was because I am Gemini and my active brain jumps from one thing to the next. It drove my husband mad – as he is Taurus and plods on doggedly until he gets the job done!! He has achieved so much in his life. I, too, have trouble sticking to things – unless they really float my boat I get quickly bored. Why bother with something boring? No time for that!! I, too, cannot manage my time easily – it just seems to slip away before I realize! And I’m always late – even when I leave lots of time. I, too, lose things – especially, as I say, now that I can’t actually remember where I put them. Mindfulness helps with this – be “mindful” – i.e. take particular notice of where you put things down or leave them (losing the car in the multi-storey is a favourite – I had to get the security guys to find it for me once!). I do seem to be able to concentrate and listen to people. However, more recently I do seem to wander off a bit – especially if it is boring, but I think that is my ME/CFS brain being sluggish – it’s worse if I am tired. I love to talk to people and work out what makes them tick. I’d have loved to be a therapist. So, all in all, don’t be TOO hard on yourself. It is probably your perfectionism kicking in, you know – NONE of us is perfect, and that is what makes us human. BUT, it is really good that you can stand back and actually SEE that you may have made mistakes in the past, and not repeat them – that is a wonderful asset to have. Some people just cannot do that – they are always right – come hell or high water. Never see the others’ point of view. My manfriend is like that. He just cannot see HIS part in the struggles between us, he “projects” it back at me – and having the “black widow” living next door, agreeing, vindicating and encouraging what he thinks and does, and poisoning him against me, does not help. I wish I could influence him as much as she does, and get him to see the doctor and get help. However, it looks as though things are well and truly over between us now, as he has not made contact, and blocked my phones – so he is on his own now – well not entirely, as he still has her next door ruling his life. Good luck to him, I say – that is surely a one-way street. So very, very sad. Anyway – it is a beautiful, sunny morning here – so I am off out to eat my breakfast in the sun, and even if the roses have gone over now – I will find something else to smell!!! Hope you have had a lovely day, as it is probably evening with you there now. Love to you. Lorna

  14. I feel like I can’t win. I rejoiced at menopause because my migraines lessened, but now I’m hearing that the estrogen that makes my head hurt so bad I want to die is actually what made my brain work better. It’s like I can either feel good, or have a working brain, but I can’t have both.

  15. Diagnosed at 54, married with two kids who are ADHD (and young – tweens) and using 80mg of methylphenidate (20mg tab 4x/day.) An amazing transformation in my life, but great trials now as I lost my job (not due to my condition, just fate) and the lack of structure has been very hard. Also. my wife is finding it hard to accept she is the only person in the household with a fully functional pre-frontal cortex. I don’t blame her.

    Knowing why I have acted the way I have my entire life is so incredibly cathartic, but it doesn’t change the challenges we all face daily.

    This site is so wonderful, so helpful and supportive. Be sure to also check out the You Tube Channel: How to ADHD https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-nPM1_kSZf91ZGkcgy_95Q

    This woman’s TED talk is just wonderful, and her commitment to helping the ADHD community is inspiring.

    ADHD did not exist as a “thing” when I was young. I was just the loud kid who couldn’t pay attention. I learned some great ways to deal with it, but I was just making it up as I went along. Some great success, some failure, but a lot of self criticism and self doubt. I see it in my kids now and I will do anything to help them avoid what I went through.

Leave a Reply