ADHD in older adults: First published review of world-wide literature

Diagnosis, Treatment, Research of ADHD in older adults

ADHD in older adults: First published review of world-wide literature

On December 16, 2015, our article reviewing the world’s English scientific literature on ADHD in adults over age 50 years was published online in Drugs and Aging, an international journal. While there is a paucity of research, there are enough publications to merit pulling this literature together into one paper. Most of research comes out of the Amsterdam ADHD research group under the direction of Dr. Sandra Kooji. Some preliminary findings:

  1. Prevalence estimated at 3%. To put this into perspective, ADHD prevalence rate for children in the U.S. is approximately 8%, and 4.5% for adults. We know that for most children ADHD symptoms persist into adulthood. While we have prospective, longitudinal studies of ADHD children for 30 years, we do not have this information as the children age past 50 years old.
  2. Only 1 of 5 memory clinics actively screen for ADHD. This will leave many with ADHD misdiagnosed and likely mistreated
  3. Older adults on stimulant medication report better attention and greater ability to manage daily tasks compared to ADHD older adult not on medication.

Our paper reviews a broader range of findings and will be helpful to researchers and clinicians seeking to broaden their knowledge and polish their clinical skills as these patients present for evaluation of cognitive complaints. We look forward to participating in the expansion of this knowledge.

David W. Goodman, M.D.