Prevalence of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in older adults in The Netherlands

Marieke Michielsen , Evert Semeijn , Hannie C. Comijs , Peter van de Ven , Aartjan T. F. Beekman , Dorly J. H. Deeg , J. J. Sandra Kooij
  • Declaration of interest

    A.T.F.B. has received an unrestricted research grant from Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca and has been a speaker for Lundbeck and Eli Lilly. J.J.S.K. is a speaker for Eli Lilly, Janssen and Shire and has received unrestricted research grants for this study from Shire, as well as for another study from Janssen.

Abstract

Background

Little is known about the prevalence of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among older adults.

Aims

To estimate the prevalence of the syndromatic and symptomatic DSM-IV ADHD diagnosis in older adults in The Netherlands.

Method

Data were used from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). At baseline, 1494 participants were screened with an ADHD questionnaire and in 231 respondents a structured diagnostic interview was administered. The weighted prevalence of ADHD was calculated.

Results

The estimated prevalence rate of syndromatic ADHD in older adults was 2.8%; for symptomatic ADHD the rate was 4.2%. Younger elderly adults (60–70 years) reported significantly more ADHD symptoms than older elderly adults (71–94 years).

Conclusions

This is the first epidemiological study on ADHD in older persons. With a prevalence of 2.8% the study demonstrates that ADHD does not fade or disappear in adulthood and that it is a topic very much worthy of further study.