Millions of Americans are struggling with ADHD, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. We mostly think of them as young children, many of them having problems in school. As more research comes to light, we’re finding out that adults and seniors may also have ADHD. ADHD is a cognitive disorder leading to problems focusing as well as impulsive and hyperactive behaviour.
There are three distinct types of ADHD:
The Hyperactive type which is characterized by those who never seem to stop moving. They will also tend to talk a lot, fidget and have a hard time sitting still.
The Inattentive type which shows up as an inability to focus. Those with this type of ADHD will often have problems with organization. They lose things easily or forget tasks and appointments. Easily distracted, inattentive type ADHD leads to projects often left incomplete.
Combined ADHD. Many of those with ADHD will follow under this heading. They have a combination of symptoms where at times they are hyperactive but at the same time have problems focusing.
Many members of the population are diagnosed with ADHD while young but since it has only been recently that ADHD has been noticed, seniors and older adults may have lived with it for years. Most seniors will at some point have lost their hyperactivity but they still retain the inability to focus well. As they grew older, this may have caused problems for them, particularly in relationships and in their jobs. Anxiety and depression may have been diagnosed for many of these seniors but rarely would the topic of ADHD come up with their healthcare workers.
What problems can ADHD cause in seniors?
- Due to their lack of focus, ADHD can make seniors more prone to falling.
- ADHD can be mistaken for dementia or memory problems because the patient lacks focus and finds it difficult to concentrate.
- Since ADHD is a cognitive disorder, it may be thought of as decline from aging.
If you suspect a loved one of having ADHD, speak with their doctor. ADHD symptoms can be managed. Cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown to help those with ADHD focus better and retain more memory. For more information on ADHD in seniors, click here.