Late diagnosis: Has anyone else out... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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Late diagnosis


Has anyone else out there been diagnosed over age 55?

Wondering what your journey has been like and your response to your diagnosis. I know these are quite personal questions and only expect those who feel comfortable sharing to do so.

As for me, I have struggled for YEARS with anxiety and depression (primarily anxiety). It was an incredible relief to receive this diagnosis! Now I know what is going on and what to do (that may actually work after all these years!) to help!

23 Replies

I'm in the medicare age group and was just diagnosed. It sure does give a perspective on why I struggled in areas of my life. To add to the fun, my grandkids who live with me have been diagnosed also. It was researching ADHD because I thought they had it that I found out that I had it too! Nothing like a household of ADHD people

Thank you so much for sharing your story! Don't have grandkids (yet!), however nice to hear from someone else who has been diagnosed so late in life!

Not over 55 but 47... Just wanted to say I know what you mean about the relief it gives you. For me, the RSD aspect of ADHD has been crippling, so it has been reassuring to know it has a name and I am not just mad! So pleased you got some answers...

Love-cats in reply to LouLouMcG



I was diagnosed a little over a year ago at age 54, also a relief. It's now a journey to refine my strategies for managing life differently. The diagnosis is helping me approach my career and understand my motivations better. I'm glad to know your situation is improving too. -take care

Love-cats in reply to Hidden

Thanks so much for your commiseration!

I was diagnosed at 42, two years after my hysterectomy. In hindsight many of the symptoms were present here and there throughout my life, but the real trouble began when the hysterectomy put me into instant menopause. For many of us who had manageable underlying symptoms, our lady hormones kick the ADHD into high gear. Mine left me feeling like I was going bat-crap crazy for two years. I certainly had rough spots in the past with anxiety and depression, but really just thought I was bad at handling the higher stress points of life. Turns out, it was just a symptom of the ADHD and when my coping mechanisms were shaken up, I didnt have the tools to manage my emotions.

I spent the first couple years bouncing between relief and regret. Now, I just work to manage what I can, try to talk myself into being motivated when I am sluggish, and sometimes just take a step back and have a lazy day with no personal judgement.

Best of luck. It certainly is a journey! Some days you will overthink every single thing you do, other days you will forgive yourself for not knowing. Then, after some time has passed, you will even be able just be you and not attach your ADHD to every thought or action. I will say that it is very therapeutic to post in this group, whether it is about a good day, bad day, or just a question. There is no judgement here and reading everyone's stories will help you gain some insight on your own experiences. :)

What a wonderful post! I also had a complete hysterectomy. Mine was around age 44. So incredibly glad I found this group! and greatly appreciate you mentioning how helpful it is to post in it!

I am 63 and in the process of getting a diagnosis (preliminary assessment is yes), which is taking forever in this covid era. So my official diagnosis is still depression and anxiety. I just realized on my own that I have ADHD when a relative (we are a lot alike) got diagnosed. I am waiting not so much for the relief of an official diagnosis but for medication, which I hope will help with the brain fog, disorganization, clutter and so many other things I always thought were just me and my lovely, quirky personality.

I have been doing mindfulness practice for more than a year before this, so now it is very much helping in many ADHD areas. I'm looking forward to learning more here from other "elders," (even though I feel like I'm 30).

ps. Love cats too.

Love-cats in reply to qwerty2021


I don't feel so all alone now. Thank you for posting.

I find it amazing you have been able to meditate so successfully. I don't have the patience to do it. Can't seem to quiet my mind long enough.

Do you have any suggestions?

I don't blame you for being excited about getting on meds.

I've been on a therapeutic dose of Adderall (had to start out low and gradually increase a week at a time) for about a week now.

It has indeed allowed me to focus quite a bit better and give me a better quality of life, however it is not a panacea. Reckon you realized that

Tried to get a pic of my cats on why profiled, however I am technologically-challenged and was thus unable to do so...

qwerty2021 in reply to Love-cats

Glad to join you here! And I'm excited to hear you're getting good results from the meds.

I also have a really hard time sitting still, so I tend to meditate using short, guided mediations, plus I lie down in bed instead of sitting upright lol. I get a lot of guided meditations free on YouTube and from phone apps like Calm. I also listen to Eckhart Tolle on YouTube, his stuff is free and really helps me quiet my mind. I have actually had moments when all the brain chatter stopped! Okay, just a few seconds, but it was quite surprising and wonderful.

Here's my guy, he was a stray I adopted last year.

Love-cats in reply to qwerty2021

What a sweet kitty 😊😻

My kitties! ❤️😻
Love-cats in reply to qwerty2021

Thanks for the hints on meditating

ALL the brain chatter stopped??!! 😳

Believe I’d take that even if it was brief!

Am just reaching a therapeutic dose of my med, however I have an incredibly dry mouth!

My doctor is weaning me off my antidepressant, hopefully that will help 🙏🏼🤞

Take care! ❤️

qwerty2021 in reply to Love-cats

Yes all the brain chatter stops for a few seconds, and every few days, the amount of time is getting a little longer. It's awesome when it happens. I didn't realize I could look at the sky and take in shapes and colors without "talking" about it in my head.

It doesn't mean I cease all thought, just the endless mental chit-chat. A word like "green" or "nice" might pop in my brain for a fleeting nanosecond but it flutters away. As opposed to the constant ruminating I usually do.

Meditation is not an easy practice. What really work for me was taking up listening to classical music- Movies scores especially! but just classical, nothing with words. Vivaldi Four Seasons is also good. I would sit in the bath and make myself focus on the music for maybe a 3-5 minutes at a time. Just do a little at a time and you will find it gets easier to wrangle your brain in for some down time, free from any thoughts :)

I was diagnosed at 53, about a year and a half ago. I always knew something was different ("What is wrong with me?" was my recurring question) about me that I could not explain to anyone, but I believed my family, friends and doctors when they reassured me that "there is nothing wrong with you!" So I just kept on keeping on..... and finally between menopause, and a job where I was misunderstood and forced out, I just fell apart. I'm still trying to pick up the pieces.

Getting diagnosed was excruciating. I don't understand why you have to jump through so many hoops to get a doctor to admit that you were right all along, and they just were afraid to talk about it. Every doctor kept referring me to another one to get tested, and then I had to take weak, ineffective medication until they were convinced that Adderall was worth a try. At our age, they worry about heart attacks with Adderall.

But even still, the generic Adderall that I'm on isn't helping me much. The last few months have been tear-filled and anxiety ridden. I was relieved when I first got my diagnosis, thinking that I had an answer now for all the inexplicable chaos of the first 53 years of life. LOL But that feeling has turned to disappointment and fear that I may never get it together. I don't actually believe that, because I know I will be alright. Somehow things always work out where I don't end up in a ditch or jail, haha. I've been lucky in a lot of ways, and also developed some necessary social strategies to get through certain situations.

The fear comes from finding myself at this point in life (54 years old), without a job or a husband, and knowing that menopause was a big factor in why things went off the rails. It's obvious that I'm in worse shape even after the diagnosis and medication.

I don't mean to be negative, and I hope it's still apparent that I have a sense of humor. I can thank the women in my family for teaching me to keep laughing all the way through life.

Seeing your post, Love-cats, just hit me at the right time, to put this in writing and share it. There is definitely a unique struggle for late diagnosis ADD women. When things get back to pre-covid social structure, I plan to join a support group as soon as possible.

P.S. I'm also a cat lover.

Genevieve, don't worry about being negative. I feel that his is the one place where everyone actually understands your thought process and that it helps us all to see the process that others are going through. Your fight for getting diagnosed hits close to my own. Therapists just wanted me to "talk it out" to make everything better. It was not easy to find the person who listened when I said that something chemical was going on. I have an amazing group of friends, and if talking it out worked, i would have never gotten so close to the edge. I completely understand those times where it all seems unmanageable again. Almost two years ago I made the decision to get an associates degree in computer IT, and am on my last semester, about to graduate in May. Sure as heck, the doubt is creeping in that I have no business being in my late 40's and trying to enter a career field comprised of mostly young men (boys!).

I truly do hope that there is some progress made on helping care providers understand the correlation between menopause and ADD. It is so glaring to all of us, yet has not really had much official research or acknowledgement. Best wishes! You will be back on the upswing in no time at all!

I agree with Renewedat42. It's okay to be negative here. We are all here to support each other.

Just glad you felt comfortable sharing with this group as it's really critical to be able to share both your good and bad days here.

Glad to see so many cat-lovers here.

For some reason I'm unable to access the photos on my computer to share pics of mine with you.

If I ever figure out how I'll certainly do so!

Wow, what a journey you have been on! I can't believe we have to go through sooooo many hoops to get diagnosed and properly treated, but, well.... no choice at this point.

Your post has brought out some great conversations! You are all so wonderful to share your experiences. I just got to thinking about the sheer exhaustion and confusion I felt before diagnosis. Once able to peek out of the fog, I realized that it felt as though I had been dipped in concrete and had to try to navigate life as it dried and I became more weighted down. On top of that, my whirling brain made even the smallest task feel as though I was trying to put together a two sided jigsaw puzzle in the middle of a tornado. So, when I am having a rough day now, thinking back to those days reminds me how far I have come.


THAT’S the same word I’ve been using about how I’ve felt!

Reckon it’s no coincidence that we both have ADHD.

Both feel the need to lift the weight of the world to get moving.

Must say the weight is a bit lighter with the meds though 🤗

I was diagnosed at 34, I take 3 Ritalin a day, 20mg. My "New psychiatrist" just informed me that I'm in the high risk population for taking Ritalin. She went on and on about this. It made me mad but it also made me want research it more to verify what she's telling me. She said Ritalin at my age (58) makes me more susceptible to stroke and heart attack. Have you been told about this as well? I'm hoping to find current information. I neeeeed my Ritalin in order to work. She said it would need to stop at retirement. hahahaha. It's not like I can stop working then. I'll likely be working through my 70's.

Nope.My doctor didn't say anything about heart attack or stroke risk!

Glad you mentioned that. Will definitely ask her about that this week

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