I didn’t discover I have ADD until I was 64.
Suddenly, a lot of things made sense – why I couldn’t make model airplanes as a kid, why I killed a pregnant Guppy fish, why I was always losing my keys, why I always carried a pocket full of index cards and an appointment book. I was using strategies that I didn’t realize were strategies cause I didn’t even realize there was a problem, but they made my life easier.
Medications, and the Elderly
I saw Dr. Evaldson, the Santa Fe ADD ADHD expert. He confirmed my diagnosis but was a little reluctant to give me Ritalin because of my age. But I was in good health so we tried a low dose.
The research doesn’t show any real danger of the stimulants – Ritalin (methylphenidate), Adderall, Vyvanse, Daytrana, amphetamines-especially in the absence of heart disease or hypertension. The antidepressants – Strattera, Wellbutrin- may be a little more problematic but we use them in the elderly.
Changes With Age
ADD ADHD by definition begins in childhood. Basically, we’re born with it, but it often doesn’t really show up in symptoms until we start school, or occasionally later. 8% of children have it. I was wrongly taught that we outgrow it in adolescence; we don’t. But due to some combination of maturing, learning strategies, and improved self-control,the symptoms become less noticeable, especially hyperactivity,and only 4% of adults meet the criteria for diagnosis, even though some of the brain abnormalities persist.
Does our ADD ADHD improve as we get older? Or does it become worse? How do we distinguish between the symptoms of normal aging versus ADD ADHD? I’m not sure there are good answers to these questions, but if the only symptoms are of memory or first appeared and old age, it is presumably not ADD ADHD.
In my little research of the net, there’s not a lot of information about this, and most of it comments that there’s not a lot of research about it.
It is clear that in making the diagnosis other medical problems (hypothyroidism, vitamin deficiency, dementia, etc.) need to be ruled out, but that’s true for younger people also.
I hope our viewing doctors will make some clarifying comments.
Definition of Old:
Anyone 10 years older than me.
Quote O the Day:
“White hair is a sign of wisdom, if you keep your mouth shut.”
Rant O the Day:
Actually, the stimulants may be less problematic for us than the benzodiazepines that so many of us are on.
Comment O the Day – Three of the Bad Things About Getting Old:
1. Losing your vision
2. Losing your hearing
3. I can’t remember the third