Dutch researchers claim that some adults do not outgrow attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), carrying the disorder even in the last decades of their lives, reported Medpage Today on Friday.
According to the report prepared by a team led by Dr. Sandra Kooij of the European Network of Adult ADHD for the American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders (APSARD) meeting, approximately three percent of adults in Netherlands older than 60 years of age still had ADHD.
"ADHD is not outgrown in adults, and neither in older people," Kooij said. "The prevalence is a little lower, but the disorder can still be found in older individuals, who also still suffer from typical ADHD problems like restlessness, distractibility, and from concurrent depression and anxiety."
Many believe that ADHD only occur during the childhood years, but several studies have found that symptoms are still observed into adulthood in some cases. The treatment for ADHD is the same for children and adult, usually with stimulant drugs, as well as psychotherapy and treating accompanying mental problems.
According to NPR on Monday, ADHD expert Dr. David Goodman of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine have diagnosed many adults for the first time with ADHD at 50 years of age and older. Since most elderly people today grew up in the 50s and 60s, less people were aware of the disorder during that time, with many not being diagnosed until today.
For adults, the disorder is not focused on disruptive behavior as it is with children, but more on their inability to focus.
For the researchers' study, they analyzed data on 231 adults between the ages of 61 to 95 from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) using the 9-item Barkley ADHD screening list for phase one, and the DSM-IV criteria on phase two.
They have found that 2.8 percent had syndromatic ADHD, while 4.2 percent had symptomatic ADHD. They concluded that ADHD do not wipe out in adulthood, and that more research are needed to discover the health implications of ADHD symptoms in the elderly.
"We are currently asking older people about their treatment wishes, and trying to identify typical themes for older people with ADHD, whom in our country usually have had no diagnosis or treatment before," said Kooij. "We aim to develop a diagnostic and treatment protocol for older people with ADHD the next months."