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June 2023

Could You Really Have ADHD?

Do you often forget to pay bills or get distracted during conversations? Don’t be too quick to blame it on a “senior moment.” These kinds of issues are sometimes caused by attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). People with ADHD have symptoms related to one or more of the following:

  • Inattention: Having trouble paying attention

  • Hyperactivity: Being very restless, or moving and talking too much

  • Impulsivity: Having difficulty with self-control

You might associate ADHD more with your grandchildren’s generation than your own. But there is growing awareness that it can affect people of all ages, including older adults.

What to watch for

ADHD begins in childhood. However, the diagnosis has only been around (under an older name) since 1968, so you might not know if you have it.

Today, a growing number of older adults are being diagnosed with ADHD for the first time. For some, the shift to a less structured routine in retirement brings problems to the fore.

Common symptoms of adult ADHD include:

  • Being forgetful and easily distracted

  • Failing to listen closely when spoken to

  • Making frequent careless mistakes

  • Struggling to manage time and finish tasks

  • Losing things, such as your keys or phone

  • Being too restless for quiet leisure activities

  • Talking too much and interrupting others

When to seek help

Consult your healthcare provider if symptoms such as these interfere with your daily activities or cause problems in your relationships. Other health conditions can cause similar symptoms. It’s important to get a professional assessment.

If you’re diagnosed with ADHD, treatment options may include medicines, therapy, and behavioral treatments. The latter can help you learn skills for dealing with day-to-day challenges. It’s never too late to take charge of ADHD.

Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, MSN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2023
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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