ADHD in Middle-aged Men. There is Hope!

ADHD, aka Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, was considered a childhood condition that kids grew out of. Oh how very wrong they were on that one! If only researchers had followed these kids into adulthood, they would have seen just how unmanageable many of their lives had became once they stopped whatever treatment they were administered as youngsters.

Men with ADHDThe Undiagnosed Generations!

It’s nothing short of tragic that so many young’uns slipped diagnosis. Those of previous generations would have become the adults living with ADHD, and you can guarantee it’s been an uphill struggle.

The Scale of the Problem

Recent studies conducted on ADHD within adults have now revealed that anywhere between 30 to 70% of children with the condition continue to display the symptoms when they grow up. So what does this mean exactly?

Well let’s put it this way; adult men who have never been diagnosed, or diagnosed with ADHD then stopped treatment once they got to a certain age, tend to become life’s underachievers. They’re also more prone to having rocky relationships, and experience higher levels of divorce than those men who don’t suffer from the syndrome.

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Typical Problems Associated with Adult ADHD include:

  • Persistent tardiness
  • Serious problems with alcohol (or other mind altering substances)
  • Inability to manage finances
  • Chronic Forgetfulness
  • Slow to grasp and develop new skills (if at all possible)
  • Difficulty in making new friends or keeping existing ones
  • Problems relaxing
  • Depression
  • Daily anger and frustration
  • Wide-ranging misery
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Homelessness
  • Self-loathing
  • Low self esteem, ad infinitum.

As a consequence of the above characteristics, it’s hardly surprising that ADHD sufferers find it hard fitting into society and maintaining relationships.

Men with ADHD are not bad or unpleasant people by nature, even though some may behave inappropriately. They’re just guys that are unbalanced due to the disorder. Although the medical profession will not call them sick, as such, those who do suffer – and it is suffering – will tell you that they are mentally unwell despite their state being termed a ‘condition’.

The 3 Types of ADHD found in Adult Men are:

1. ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type: Significant symptoms of inattention

2. ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: Both hyperactive and impulsive behaviour, but may not show enough symptoms of inattention to qualify.

3. ADHD, Combined Type: This is a combination of the inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms shown above.

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Below is an account from a reader who wrote to 50ish.org asking us to highlight the plight of adult men with ADHD. Donald Goodwin hopes that posting on this topic will prompt others into getting diagnosed if they feel they might be losing out on life because of the disorder.

Name: Donald Goodwin | Age: 54 | Occupation: Security Guard | Marital Status: Single

A Day in the Life Donald Goodwin

Hello, I’m Donald Goodwin, and up until my late 40’s (the time I was diagnosed with ADHD), I’d somehow fumbled through life knowing there was something wrong with me, but never quite sure what. Even a ‘good day’ wasn’t without its frustrations and challenges.

A typical day in the life of me would usually start by forgetting where I put something. It might be the milk for the coffee, the mobile phone, the keys, or the pen I was talking notes with just moments earlier. Occasionally I would have to stop looking for something because I’d completely forget what it was I was looking for to begin with.

The Outcome of Relentless Forgetting

This constant forgetfulness resulted in rage and self-loathing. Sometimes I’d get so irate that I’d want to pick up a chair and literally throw it through a window. I never did, but I wanted to. I sometimes wondered how close I was to actually flipping. Regrettably, I’d take my frustrations out on those around me by being verbally aggressive or snappy. The consequence of this was that I’d drive people away and spend most of my free time living as an urban recluse.

There were times where I’d get in the car and set off to my destination, only to turn around and drive back home minutes later because I’d forgot where I was heading. Looking back, it’s little wonder I sought solace in solitude, alcohol, cigarettes, and binge eating.

I always wanted to enjoy books, but could never concentrate long enough to focus on the content. Needless to say I’m uneducated and have gone through life as a low paid, unskilled worker, usually doing jobs I detest but without options to progress due to my inability to learn.

ADHD and Normality don’t Mix!

I never did get married, but always wanted a wife and kids of my own. But I knew in my heart of hearts I would have made a lousy husband and a second-rate father because of the way I blundered through life. I was super sensitive to criticism and accrued resentments as a philatelist might collect stamps. No, people and me just never got on for long periods, and any attempt at married life would have been nothing short of disastrous.

The Diagnosis

There came a time when I was 46 or 47 years old, when I could no longer tolerate waking up as me. I’d become so desperate that I sought the help of a psychiatrist. She recognised pretty early on in our sessions that I had a something known as ‘ADHD Combined Type’, a condition that showed symptoms within me of inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. It soon became obvious that ADHD had been the root of all my problems from a very early age.

The Prescription

I was prescribed some medication known as methylphenidate, which is a central nervous system stimulant. Thanks to this medication and a course of therapy sessions, my life has turned around beyond all recognition. I now know what it’s like to feel normal, rational, and logical for the first time in living memory, and it’s just wonderful, it really is fantastic.

The Results

In the early days of recovery I would sometimes find myself feeling a bit resentful about all the lost opportunities in education and lifestyle, lost because parents and teachers failed to take seriously my inability to sit still, stop talking, or focus in the classroom. These umbrages were soon overcome though, thanks mainly to a great counsellor.

Nowadays I’m just happy that I made a decision on that day to seek help with what I thought at the time was a severe case of progressive insanity.

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Summary: Never try to self diagnose adult ADHD. If you display any of the above symptoms, go and see a medical professional at the earliest opportunity. If you have been suffering from ADHD, the good news is that your life can be turned around beyond all recognition, but you will need the help and guidance of a trained professional in those early days.

About Andy Aitch

Musician, writer, netentrepreneur and founder of 50ish.org, the site created for uniting middle-aged men the world over.

Motto: a man is not old until his dreams become his regrets

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Additional Resources on Adult ADHD

Finally there is help at last for the generations of adult men who have blundered through life with undiagnosed ADHD (or other disorders). If you think you might have the condition, then you may find the resources below beneficial.

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Readers Comments

    Hopeful says:

    Hi, I have questions regarding your article about someone who is very important to me. Is there a way to contact you via email?


    sonnyJIM says:

    @ 50ish.org Thanks for a great article. Best piece I’ve read on adhd.

    @ Donald Goodwin Thanks for describing me and my life in great detail friend.



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