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Just Diagnosed With ADHD (Adults)

Why are many ppl diagnosed from 40-50 age group?

I was wondering if anyone knew why I keep noticing that so many are saying I was not diagnosed or such and such until I was 40 something or that older age group?
I may have missed it if it was something I would have read about adhd as I am still reading at this stage as much helpful stuff as I can.
thanks to adddad for sharing his methods of copiing, you are helping me already.

I am new here and only self-diagnosed thus far as the town has no specialists for this and I have no money to get to the big city Doc who wants 350$ for his diagnosis.

I’m hoping to make a friend or 2 (have no real world friends)LOL is that common for adhd adults smile

No-one seems to like me except my husband and sometimes that does get me down—off topic here - thanks for reading


Hi Mary,
Just a guess, but at least in Catholic schools and public schools were only marginally better at first, they simply didn’t or only rarely diagnosed LD or ADHD or anything in children in the 60s-70s. Virtually everything was chalked up to being “good” or “bad” and things went from there. I’ve heard of many moms getting diagnosed when their kid gets sent for a dx. When I did get formally diagnosed in my late 40s, I was shocked by the number of symptoms I checked off about my childhood and thought “why was nobody paying attention to this?” But even though I couldn’t sit still and wandered out of the room pretty often, they just saw this as me being “dreamy” and when I couldn’t stop talking, I was “social”. I was constantly having “ants in my pants” when I didn’t stay seated. I’d get a quick punishment (sent off to try to sit still elsewhere for a bit) and we’d do it all again. I have looked at old report cards. Grades were OK, but the comments on my behavior often took extra pages. I think it really was simply a case of being unaware of these various disorders that can often make for a rough time for everyone in the class.

As for the friends thing, despite being “social”, I don’t have close friends really. Well, just one or two, and I feel uncomfortable out of my zone of “close people.” I feel like I do better alone, but I’m hoping the behavior mod I’m learning will help me feel less awkward around other people.

Posted by EllaMc on Apr 09, 2014 at 4:12pm

Thanks ladies, that makes sense and I was not schooled in the USA so it is still not picked up in school here.
I actually only learned about me maybe having this last month when I was studying to see if I could pin-point why my 3 year old woke up screaming and flailing of arms etc., ,and did not see her with any presentation of adhd, but immediately went - “hey, thats me they are talking about” lol - Without this occurance I’d never be any the wiser- just knew that I am a loner who talks to much to anyone who will listen, interrupts, has a grand idea a day and a new project weekly that rarely ever gets finished to keep my active brain amused and only ever feels fulfilled when I am working intently on a project. Super sensitive and complete failed family relationships all about me. No friends and isolated life.

thanks so much for sharing knowledge



Posted by MaryContrar on Apr 10, 2014 at 10:27am

7 jobs in 12 years, RN just diagnosed @ age 50 after being in therapy for over 10 years ... yIKES ! It all makes sense now “the big struggle” all this time.
No real friends either, trust issues with colleagues
Which extends to my private life.
Hope to become aquatinted with other friendly people, on this seemingly trusted site, and help others too.

Posted by Sustoc7869 on Apr 13, 2014 at 7:33pm

I wasn’t dx’d until a few months ago at 58. I had suspected for a few years but had some other health issues to work on first to rule them out. This helped reduce symptoms by helping my adrenal, thyroid and sex hormones getting balanced, finding some food intolerances and reducing exposure and such. I tried alternative approaches such as L tyrosine but didn’t get enough help at the highest safe dose.
Finally with ACA I can afford the doctor and medication and the Adderall is much better than the trysone and such.
Many adults mid 30’s and over slipped through the cracks. It wasn’t well known in the 60’s, then mostly boys, then the meme was you outgrew it so no one looked at adults. I suspect from my own life changes that with puberty triggering some issues and later as we age, other hormone or health aspects changing can also make some symptoms we learned to cope with become more severe. Some people with sub clinical symptoms may go clinical and low to moderate symptoms get worse.
Docs are now finding that adults and especially older adults whose reflexes, balance and coordination are declining as well as cognitive function slowing who are treated for AD/HD are reducing the risk of falls, car accidents and such.
At any rate, I’m glad some lifelong issues and mysteries have been finally understood and treated more effectively.
While I grieve for the lost years and burden, all those before us had no chance of being treated. I won’t whine about the anxiety, shame, depression, feeling lazy, stupid, crazy and all that crap. My symptoms are bad enough to be a burden but far less than many and my overall health and well being is great. Life is good. It is a relief though to know that some physical cause rather than character flaws are at the core.
If you have older relatives, with the genetic aspects of AD/HD it might be useful for them to be tested for the safety issues as well as the cognitive and mood improvement. I can see some of my symptoms in each parent and they both would have benefited from treatment.

Posted by Gadfly on Apr 15, 2014 at 7:33pm

ADHD/ADD was unheard of in the 60’-70’s. I remember hearing about it in the early 80’s as my nephew might of had it then. So now that almost everyone has a touch of ADD, adults are getting dx more and more. A lot of the symptoms on ADD are actually anxiety based and not true ADD.

Posted by Pink ginger on Apr 17, 2014 at 7:22pm

There are several reasons why so many adults are being diagnosed only at age 40-50.  The biggest reason is that up until the mid-1990s the experts thought AD/HD was a developmental disorder of childhood - that kids with AD/HD caught up to others and basically grew out of the disorder.  A couple of 20 - year studies that followed kids into adulthood proved that while the appearance changed the underlying neurological deficits and differences were still there, in most and possibly all cases.  So until the late 1990s nobody found AD/HD in adults because nobody was looking for it.  The DSM standards (the criteria that doctors and psychologists use to diagnose) and the various tests used to assess AD/HD have also gotten much better and more applicable to people over 20.

The other big reason is that evidence has accumulated over the years that gradually proved that AD/HD was genetically transmitted, while at the same time most primary and high school teachers are now trained to recognise it.  That means that a lot of parents are finding out about it when their kids are identified by teachers and diagnosed as a result. 

Another factor is just life.  Most people with AD/HD manage to adapt to it, and a lot of us have very successful lives and careers.  Some of the practitioners who have it figured it out only when in professional schools.  But there are a lot of cases where an adult with AD/HD finds out about it only when some new demand they could not cope with confronted them.  If you change jobs or get promoted for example, and your previous adaptations don’t work, you start asking why and that can lead to diagnosis.

In the US, there is a belief on the part of some that the “explosion” in diagnoses is a conspiracy on the part of drug companies.  This is not so, but there certainly have been increases in diagnosis in school children as a result of various US legal developments (IDEA etc) as parents sought help for their kids in school.  That likely triggered a secondary wave of diagnoses in the parents and other adult relatives.  Check out the recent Additude webinar with Stephen Hinshaw for information about that.

Personally, I was diagnosed at 55, after one of my kids was identified, and I had to take training in another language for my job.  The diagnosis of my child caused me to look at a list of AD/HD symptoms and I recognised myself (and other family members) and problems in language training turned up a diagnosis of AD/HD and a couple of specific Learning Disabilities I had not previously suspected.

Posted by Cedar on May 17, 2014 at 5:57am

I was diagnosed at 50. I think that besides the fact that it wasn’t being diagnosed when I was a child, there are a few other important factors. One, I don’t have the hyperactivity. They diagnose subtypes of adhd now and I am primarily inattentive. So I always was just spacy and not paying attention. Also, when they did start diagnosing, they rarely diagnosed girls, so maybe some of us fell through the cracks. Sadly this affects our lives so much. When I was in college, a woman found out that I had a good scholarship. She actually said,“If you are so smart, why do always act so dumb!” I’m 60 now and that sentence still rings in my ears!

Posted by kathykc on May 18, 2014 at 7:37pm

I am 51 and just diagnosed.  I am hopeful that my life will change for the better and grieve for the “if I had only known sooner.” I am an unemployed RN for the last 5 years and lost the motivation to look for a job.  Now I feel my problems working in the hospital setting was secondary to the ADHD. I really need my motivation to do things returns. I have been treated for depression and in general I have been feeling happy. The motivation to do anything has been my challenge. I see my psych md in a week and he will probably start me on medication.  I guess I should consider this a new adventure in my life.  My husband of almost 30 years deserves an award for dealing with my “laziness"etc.

Posted by Debtym on Jun 01, 2014 at 7:51pm

I was diagnosed last year at age 65. Funny, the articles I’ve seen and the other resources I have read or listened to all mention various surviving strategies that people have until later if life, but I don’t think any of these researchers and authors mention the “missing generation” of seniors and others who attended grade school before picking on this stuff was common.

One memory from grade school that has always stayed w me was the teacher commenting on how much wiggling the boy a few seats behind me did. “Why can’t you just sit quietly, the way she does?” she asked, indicating the little girl across the aisle from me. She was so quiet and still and relaxed in her chair. Gee, I thought, I can’t sit like that either.

Who knew?

Public screening surveys indicate that only a small percentage of adults with ADHD have been diagnosed and treated.

Posted by ADD me on Jun 17, 2014 at 12:08am

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