Does ADD Get Worse With Age?


"I'm 53 and was just diagnosed with ADHD. The last couple of years have been more 'hazy' or confusing than before. Do the symptoms get worse with middle age when the memory starts to go anyway?"


ADDitude Answers

There has been a study that found hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms decline at a higher rate than inattention symptoms, but adults still struggle with many ADHD-related challenges.

Many women in menopause (with or without ADHD) relate that their memory just doesn't seem to be as sharp as it used to be. I think this is common for most of us as we age, but I do not think it is necessarily a result of aging, but may in some cases be a result of not utilizing our mental powers as rigorously as we have in the past.

Our ability to concentrate, to reason, to visualize, to imagine, to make decisions, to solve problems and to think clearly and creatively depends a great deal on how well and how often we exercise our mind. Getting a book of mental games and exercises to sharpen your brain power could prove to be fun as well as beneficial.

Posted by Sandy Maynard

A Reader Answers

Unfortunately, ADHD — as well as a number of other psychiatric conditions — only gets worse with age when left unattended and/or untreated. It's a known fact. If you want to perform well at work, you need to work on getting the right medication as the first and primary step. There are a lot of cognitive solutions and other ways to improve focus and curb other ADHD symptoms, but it makes a lot of sense to find and tune the right meds that work for you (rarely happens with the first choice of meds given to you by your psychiatrist), to make sure your mind is quieted enough to grasp and solve problems and issues.

Posted by ADDRussian

A Reader Answers

It sounds like your chemical makeup is changing now with age and you are now seeing how it affects your ADHD.

I recommend a behavioral psychologist who specializes in ADHD. It has helped us with a son who is going through puberty. I thought something was really, really, really wrong with him and was at my wits' end. Without the psychologist to teach him how to deal with himself and change (change is very bad to ADHDers), I don't know where we'd be. Just a thought.

I hope you succeed in your endeavors.

Posted by DMose

A Reader Answers

Now that I think back, I have been fired four times in the past six years since turning 60. It rarely happened before that. Maybe I became a grumpy old bastard.

I was diagnosed at 55 years old, and I obviously had ADHD all my life.

There have a few traumatic events that disrupted life recently — maybe that was the underlying problem.

When I take my meds, I really am a lot more focused and can be twice as productive at work.

Posted by Bob from Cootamundra

A Reader Answers

I was diagnosed about three years ago at 48. I thought I’d been doing just fine even though, in retrospect, I clearly had it as a kid. Two things happened that turned it into a challenge for me: I changed jobs from one that was highly structured to one that wasn’t at all, and I got older. I think Thomas Brown mentions the few studies on ADHD and aging in his short book “New Understanding of ADHD” but I have no doubt that it’s gotten harder now for me to deal with over time. Hang in there.

Posted by Kenny Hank

A Reader Answers

After 27 years at my job, my job was done away with and because of some physical disabilities, there were no other jobs available which I could do. The sudden loss of income put my mortgage in jeopardy and I had to scramble to get on disability, start the retirement process and put myself on a financial diet (which was totally foreign to me). My therapist and I had a parting of the ways at that time as well. Talk about major upheaval — and my ADHD symptoms certainly got worse during that time. By the grace of God I survived it all and am looking forward to starting a home-based business. It took me years to get on the right meds, at the right dosage. Without that and the support of my family, the old me would have lost it. I am managing well now and am actually relaxing and beginning to enjoy the changes. I wish you all the best. You can survive!

Posted by ctm1

Read the original discussion on the ADDConnect forums.


Is It Executive Function Disorder? Adults and children with ADHD can often struggle with executive function, affecting planning, time management, and more. Download now!

Get This Free Download
Sandy Maynard lives in Washington, DC where she operates Catalytic Coaching . She was instrumental in the development of The National Attention Deficit Disorder Association 's Coaching Guidelines and a founding board member for the Institute for the Advancement of AD/HD Coaching (IAAC). Sandy lectures internationally and is a regular contributor to ADDitude .
View Site in Mobile | Classic
Share by: