ADHD In The Over 50s Needs More Resources

ADHD In The Over 50s Needs More Resources

Experts are urgently calling for improved global guidelines on treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in individuals over 50.

These findings, published in the reputable journal Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, reveal a significant lack of knowledge regarding older people, as current guidelines mainly target children and young adults.

As the world’s understanding of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) continues to evolve, it has become clear that this condition doesn’t only affect children and adolescents.

Dr. Maja Dobrosavljevic from the University of Orebro, Sweden, states that it’s essential to develop better strategies for screening and diagnosing people aged 50 to 55.

Bespoke ADHD Treatments Will Be Required

As we learn more about the struggles older adults with ADHD face, a customized approach will be vital for their well-being.

The researchers are urging medical professionals, policymakers, and scientists to collaborate in refining diagnostic criteria, treatment guidelines, and research initiatives for all age groups affected by ADHD.

ADHD affects approximately 2.5% of adults and often runs in families.

Symptoms might consist of impulsivity, hyperactivity, and difficulty focusing or organizing.

This neurodevelopmental disorder can persist throughout life and have detrimental effects on education, job prospects, and social interactions.

The authors reviewed nearly 100 studies and assessed current diagnostic criteria based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

Their findings reveal that no studies have observed people over a long time period into older age due to issues like age-related memory problems.

This research emphasizes the need for more trials evaluating the safety and effectiveness of ADHD medications for this age group who may already be at risk for other health issues like heart problems.

It also calls for better screening tools to recognize ADHD specifically in individuals over 50 years old.

The study contributes to existing evidence linking ADHD with mental health problems, increased mortality rates, cardiovascular diseases, and dementia.

It recommends that doctors consider distinct clues when diagnosing ADHD and age-related mild cognitive impairments (MCI).

Whilst acknowledging upcoming updates to the DSM and ICD that will address current knowledge gaps regarding older adults with ADHD.

Adults, including those over 50 years old, can also live with ADHD.

Identifying ADHD in Older Adults

One significant challenge in treating ADHD in adults over 50 is accurately identifying its symptoms.

The manifestations can differ from those of younger patients, and many older adults may not have received an initial diagnosis during their youth.

As a result, they might experience years of frustration and anxiety without knowing the cause.

The diagnostic process may require a thorough evaluation by an experienced healthcare professional.

Clinicians should consider any comorbid conditions and signs of cognitive decline or other age-related factors.

Treatment Considerations for Older Adults

As with any health condition, the treatment plan for ADHD in older adults depends on individual needs and circumstances.

However, certain considerations should be kept in mind.

  1. Medication
    Common medications used to treat ADHD include stimulants like methylphenidate and amphetamines. While these can prove effective for many patients, older individuals may be more vulnerable to side effects or interactions with other medications they are taking.
  2. Behavioral Therapies
    Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychotherapy are often beneficial as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. They help patients develop habits, routines, and coping strategies tailored to their specific needs.
  3. Lifestyle Changes
    Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can have a significant impact on managing ADHD symptoms in older adults. This includes proper nutrition, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress reduction techniques.

Support for Older Adults with ADHD

In addition to medical treatment, support networks play a vital role in assisting older adults living with ADHD. Patients may benefit from joining support groups specifically tailored for their age or situation.

These groups provide an essential platform for sharing experiences and best practices while also fostering a sense of belonging and mutual understanding.

Treating ADHD in adults over 50 presents unique challenges that require specialized strategies.

With an increase in awareness and education, healthcare professionals can better identify at


  • Stephen

    Stephen is now retired. He spent 25 years in community welfare and is one of the co-founders of life over 50. He has a keen interest in everything concerning this special age group.....and makes valuable contributions to the site. In his spare time, he enjoys photography, cycling and gardening. Also a keen jazz music lover!

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