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  #1  
Old 11-26-05, 04:48 PM
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Does Adult ADHD Get Worse with Age?

How long can we take stimulants for?

Are we more likely to become disfunctional (as we age) than non-ADDers?
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Old 11-26-05, 05:18 PM
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Adult add does not have to get worse with age.. BUT, age related issues can certainly exacerbate ADD. Also, as life goes forward, it is possible to accumulate co-morbidities... particularly if preexisting issues have not been addressed (like untreated ADD, OCD,depression, etc).

How long can you take meds ??? As long as they help.

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Old 11-26-05, 05:48 PM
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There is a different answer to the age question for men and women. Menopause has debilitating effects on ADD symptoms in many women. For men, I imagine the decline of testosterone, which is not as sudden or severe as the drop in estrogen in women, is less of a problem (if a problem at all).
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Old 11-26-05, 06:02 PM
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I think the workaround for ADD getting "worse" with age is to take your ADD seriously and if you have comorbid conditions, get those issues addressed as best you can so that they don't turn into something that can give you a hard time later on in life.

In any case, we happen to have ADD, and we have no choice but to deal with it, since we don't have the option to opt-out on aging, or having ADD.

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Old 11-26-05, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedo
I think the workaround for ADD getting "worse" with age is to take your ADD seriously and if you have comorbid conditions, get those issues addressed as best you can so that they don't turn into something that can give you a hard time later on in life.
Good points. I thought I'd dealt with these kinds of problems a dozen years ago with my bipolar diagnosis. Getting old is a B***H!
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Old 11-26-05, 06:47 PM
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For me it has gotten worse.

I'm 55 and take stimulants.

The main thing I have to do is watch my blood pressure, which I also takes meds for.

Excellent question.
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Old 11-27-05, 12:44 AM
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hi everyone,
im a newey to ADD and just got diagnosed few weeks ago. i think ADD gets worse as u get older and dont get treatment becase i didnt notice any symptoms when i was in my younger teens until bout 2 years ago ( now 23). Just glad i found out now then later.

cya all
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Old 11-27-05, 11:00 AM
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Welcome to the Forum.
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  #9  
Old 11-28-05, 12:44 PM
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Welcome -- JLO21! Since you're 21, your ADHD probably isn't getting worse, but your life is getting more complicated which tends to show the deficiencies in your executive functions. Dr. Tom Brown discusses this is his book Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults how as a young person reaches different mile markers and has added responsibilities and less parental structure and support, ADD issues can become more problematic.

SnappyCloud, Dr. Brown also addresses the issues of aging and how it impact's ADD. Menopause can definately create problems as the hormonal dysregulation really sends folks who already had dysregulation problems for a loop. Aging itself can cause problems for both men and women. Brown describes it this way:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults pp. 242-243"
"Many men and women complain of increasing problems with attention, working memory, and other executive functions as they reach late middle age and beyond. Denise Park adn Trey Hedden (2001) evaluated men and women aged twenty-nine to ninety to determine how performance on tests of perceptual speed and working memroy changes across age groups. They found that the rate of decline on measures of processing speed, working memory, and long-term memory was consistent across the lifespan.

'The loss of processing function that occurs from ages 20 - 29 is approximately the same as the loss that occurs from 60 - 69. The only difference is that the proportionate loss for the 69 year old is greater than for the 29 year old, given that a 20 year old has more processing resource than a 60 year old.

'As an analogy, if you start a bank account with a thousand dollars that doesn't accrue interest and wtihdraw $100 each decade beginning at age 20, you would decrease your financial resources by 10 percent on your 20th birthday and have $900 remaining. On your 70th birthday, you would have $500 left and your $100 withdrawal would at that point represent a 20 percent loss of your now meager financial resources, leaving you with only
$400.

'As this analogy illustrates, the absolute decline in working memroy function may be equivalent across decades, but the proportion of processing resources lost is greater as one get older.' (p. 154)

"Park and Hedden concluded that this disproportionate loss of cognitive resources, combined with the fact that there is some threshold where declining resources signficantly interfere with daily life, explains why older adults tend to complain about a drop in cognitive function as they get older, while younger adults usually do not."
Brown concludes:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults - p. 243"
"These studies show that many impairments of executive function seen in ADD syndrome can occur in persons who did not have ADHD in their earlier years. For some, head injuries, the hormonal changes of menopause, or cognitive changes of old age create a cluster of impairments that looks very much like ADD without the lifespan history of symptoms.... It also seems likely that external challenges like these would cause some individuals who have a lifelong history of ADD syndrome to experience a worsening of their ADD symptoms." (emphasis added mine)
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Old 11-28-05, 01:46 PM
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I am 62. Just got diagnoised with Adhd last year, although any fool could see that I have had it for all my life. I have had high blood pressure since my forties. Tried Ritalin last year and Concerta, too, but my BP went up, even taking my med. So this year about a month and ahalf ago, I asked to try Adderall, after reading a few books on ADD. My Doctor put me on 5 mg. twice a day.What is happening so far, is that my BP is going down-a few times really low. So what we think is happening is that my anxiety disorder has probably caused a lot of my BP problems. I also walk 60 mins. a day, but that didn't bring it down before the meds. I am not overweight and have good health habits, so the BP has mystified many DRs., and I have tried every diet know to man, I think. So we will see if this continues to work. I like not being restless and feeling calmer, but I miss my old self, too. I think one thing that can improve with age, is that you can be easier on yourself, and see that even though maybe you didn't do all the things you thought you should have, it's pretty cool to be an out of the box thinker, and maybe you are glad you have ADHD! Maybe you can do some things well, that others can't, even if you can't do paper work!!!!!
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Old 11-28-05, 03:03 PM
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Scattered:

Thanks for those citations! I think that explains a lot for me...

Looking back, I've always had problems with focus, memory, procrastination, organization....and as a child..daydreaming, distractions, etc. But somehow I was always able to better accomodate this at home and at work. Maybe my energy level was higher, maybe my motivation was enhanced by having a child at home...or maybe, as these pages describe, age has exacerbated my ADD-type difficulties to the point where I just can't do what I've done....or maybe I don't want to continue putting in 120% to accomplish what others do at 90%.

Interesting.
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Old 11-28-05, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joyous56
Scattered:

Thanks for those citations! I think that explains a lot for me...

Looking back, I've always had problems with focus, memory, procrastination, organization....and as a child..daydreaming, distractions, etc. But somehow I was always able to better accomodate this at home and at work. Maybe my energy level was higher, maybe my motivation was enhanced by having a child at home...or maybe, as these pages describe, age has exacerbated my ADD-type difficulties to the point where I just can't do what I've done....or maybe I don't want to continue putting in 120% to accomplish what others do at 90%.
That pretty much describes me too. I was diagnosed at 3 or 4 with hyperactivity but managed to get through school okay and did well by college. It was really after I turned 40 that things started getting worse for me. I think a lot of that is related to hormones as well as aging. The too tired to keep doing 120% to match what others do at 90% especially seems to fit well.

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Old 12-11-08, 02:00 PM
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Re: Does Adult ADHD Get Worse with Age?

As I approach 60, I believe my AD is getting worse. I am a programmer - a mental laborer or athlete by profession. There are times when I and my co-workers have to concentrate flat out. As an athlete, we have some measure as to our mental prowess.


As I see it AD has two problems. How much focus reserve you have and your ability to channel it. Stimulants help you focus your attention resource. Lack of the right kind of sleep and I believe age limits the amount of attention resources you have. I just read a study on young persons ADHD that stated 50% of the parents with ADHD children believed their children had sleep disorders. I also wish to mention stimulants are known to reduce REM sleep. AD can be cause by lack of REM sleep.


Even when I was in my 30s I could stay up all night programming and would actually need to drink alcohol to dull my anger. I would get frustrated if I couldn't solve a problem. The anger would act as a stimulant producing exceptional concentration. This has very helpful. I remember working in the basement not knowing it was morning till I had to go to the bathroom. After a few hrs sleep I could do it all over again. Now, I can drain what ever mental resources I have in less than 8 hs without medication and as little as 2 hrs with medication. The 2 hrs with medication would allow a much higher level of concentration than 8 hrs without but at a cost. The medicated burst still is not close to what I could do as a 30 year old for 24 hrs straight. Once I am spent I will be in a mental stupor for days. I don't want to read or watch anything that requires any level of concentration on the TV. Monday I am still less than half way rested. I have learned not to use more than about 5 mg of adderal tab unless I can veg for a few days. The slowness to recover seems to be age related since programmers without AD complain about this as well. In fact it is rare to find any programmers in their 60.


I think my ability to focus has not changed but my mental reserve has. I was actually looking for any studies on old persons with AD, hoping there was some way to up the mental reserve.



Maybe my observations might strike a chord with another member. If so, please post a comment.
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Old 12-12-08, 07:08 PM
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Re: Does Adult ADHD Get Worse with Age?

I'm new to the forum, and find this topic interesting. I was diagnosed with ADHD at 35, started treatment and became superwoman for a while. Overcompensated for years of underachieving by becoming a workaholic. Now, at 44 I am feeling worn out. Left my full time job this summer to freelance, but just don't have the energy to get back into my career like I want. I've changed medication from Dexedrine to Ritalin, which helped, but now my anxiety is getting worse.

Anyway, sorry to vent, but I can't help think that getting older is affecting my ability to cope with ADHD symptoms.
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Old 12-13-08, 03:07 PM
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Re: Does Adult ADHD Get Worse with Age?

Perhaps the physical manifestations or symptoms of ADD might get somewhat worse with age, but if you are in treatment and over hating yourself about it, one's actual experience of life can be a lot more fulfilling and gratifying. At least that's what I've found.

I'm 35 and have been diagnosed professionally for 9 years and self diagnosed for about 12 years. My symptoms have worsened, although meds help, and my ability to hyperfocus as mentioned by pp isn't quite what it once was, but at the same time, my overall experience of life and of myself and of other people has improved dramatically. I have learned to love myself and accept myself despite it. Living with a decided non ADDer has helped me realize what wonderful strengths we have that many others lack, and also that other people just don't have it together most the time like they seem to. So I tend to overlook my laundry and dishes to see the big picture more.

Plus as I get older I care a whole lot less what other people think, which makes the experience of ADD much more delightful.
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