“Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Affects Memory in Adults”

Usually, we associate memory problems with Alzheimer’s disease. An estimated 5.5 million people have Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Alzheimer’s will claim 14 million victims by 2050. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that gradually destroys brain tissue and people’s ability to remember, think, communicate, and lead independent lives. It is the most common form of dementia. However, some older adults with attention and memory problems can have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some may be surprised to learn that ADHD causes impaired memory symptoms. Researchers have shown that symptoms of ADHD can carry over into adulthood for two-thirds of patients who had ADHD as children. ADHD is also one of the most heritable health disorders, meaning that someone with ADHD may have a parent, grandparent, or sibling with the disorder. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, the overall prevalence of ADHD in US adults aged 18-44 years is 4.4%, with a higher prevalence among men (5.4%) than women (3.2%). Researchers suggested that the prevalence of ADHD symptoms declines to 1.0% to 2.8% in the most elderly. The differential diagnosis for older-age ADHD is long and includes mild cognitive impairment, dementia, other neurodegenerative disorders, polypharmacy, sleep disturbances, chronic pain, and difficulties with vision/hearing. ADHD could, therefore, be mistaken for one of these other conditions.

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