June 22, 2024

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Overlooked Adult ADHD in Individuals Aged 50 and Above

Overlooked Adult ADHD in Individuals Aged 50 and Above



Researchers Call for Attention and Resolution of Overlooked Adult ADHD in Individuals Aged 50 and Above

An increasing number of people are realizing that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not just a disruptive childhood condition. According to conservative estimates, approximately 8.7 million adults in the United States suffer from this disorder, including both diagnosed and undiagnosed cases. However, adults aged 50 and above have not only been excluded from ADHD research but also encounter obstacles when seeking help.

Researchers from Sweden’s Uppsala University examined international registry data and community-based studies involving over 20 million individuals worldwide, including 41,000 diagnosed with ADHD. The results, published in 2020, revealed that only 32 datasets from 20 papers considered factors related to older adults.

Maja Dobrosavljevic, a researcher at Uppsala University and the author of the study, stated, “The levels of ADHD symptoms are notably increasing among a substantial portion of adults aged 50 and above. However, many of them remain undiagnosed and untreated.”

While ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, most individuals with it don’t “outgrow” it. Furthermore, it is a complex condition that is challenging to diagnose and treat.

Individuals with ADHD have a deficiency in the neurotransmitter norepinephrine in their brains, closely linked to dopamine, which regulates the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Additionally, the functionality of the frontal cortex, limbic system, basal ganglia, and reticular activating system in the brains of ADHD individuals is impaired, resulting in disrupted neural communication and a range of symptoms, which can vary greatly from person to person.

This is an exceedingly intricate neurosystem disorder, and it is even more difficult to identify in older individuals due to the characteristics of many symptoms overlapping with age-related cognitive decline.

 

Overlooked Adult ADHD in Individuals Aged 50 and Above

 

Dobrosavljevic explained, “One of the reasons many older adults remain undiagnosed is that these symptoms are often mistaken for the natural aging process or early stages of dementia.”

Behaviors such as forgetfulness, poor memory, and emotional fluctuations may be dismissed as age-related symptoms, and older individuals with ADHD are also at a higher risk of developing dementia, hypertension, heart failure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

Dobrosavljevic added, “ADHD patients have a significantly higher risk of developing dementia and mild cognitive impairment, which affects their memory, reception, and processing of information.”

Due to the hereditary nature of ADHD, researchers believe that excluding such a significant population from studies and not revising the current diagnostic systems, which are primarily focused on children and young people, represents a significant oversight.

Overlooked Adult ADHD in Individuals Aged 50 and Above Overlooked Adult ADHD in Individuals Aged 50 and Above

 

 

 

Dobrosavljevic emphasized, “Raising awareness of ADHD in this age group is crucial because it can lead to more individuals receiving accurate diagnoses and appropriate treatment.”

This research was published in the journal “Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics.”

 

 

Overlooked Adult ADHD in Individuals Aged 50 and Above

(source:internet, reference only)


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