ADHD Diagnoses Increase by 70% in American Elderly, Intriguing New Data Shows

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The growing mental health crisis is often seen as an affliction reserved for young Americans who are worried about an increasingly uncertain future.

But intriguing new numbers suggest this is far from the case.

According to a new analysis from health data company FAIR Health, diagnoses of mental health problems like anxiety and depression have increased in older Americans, reaching a higher prevalence than ever before.

In fact, data shows that the biggest jump in mental illness between 2019 and 2023 occurred among those over 65.

About 14 percent of adults over 65 will be diagnosed with some form of mental illness in 2023, compared to nine percent in 2019. This represents an increase of 57 percent.

Meanwhile, adults aged between 23 and 40 saw a 44% increase and children under 10 saw a 30% jump.

A study by researchers at FAIR Health evaluated the increase in mental illness diagnoses for different age groups from 2019 to 2023. Each age group saw an increase

The biggest jump was among Americans over 65, which experts say may be due to increased awareness and expanded access to telehealth during the pandemic

The biggest jump was among Americans over 65, which experts say may be due to increased awareness and expanded access to telehealth during the pandemic

Overall, the number of people diagnosed with mental health problems increased by 40 percent during this period, according to data from the 46 billion insurance claims were filed.

Generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder were the most common diagnoses, but perhaps most intriguing is the fact that the rate of ADHD diagnoses soared by 70 percent.

This appears to be a larger increase compared to other younger age groups, according to previous research.

A study published in JAMA found a 43% increase in ADHD diagnoses in adults and a 13% jump in children over the age of 10.

The latest findings have confounded experts, who have long believed that boomers are somehow protected from mental health problems due to their infrequent use of social media on average, which is said to be driving the younger generation’s psychiatric decline. .

However, experts have come up with some possible theories to explain the increase in shock.

Mainly, they noted it could be increased due to greater access to telehealth and therapists during the pandemic and the lack of diagnoses like childhood ADHD.

The smallest jump in mental illness was seen in children ages 10 to 13, with diagnoses increasing slightly from 18.1% to 19%.

Robin Gelburd, president of FAIR Health, said, “We hope these findings will also be starting points for future research into mental health conditions.”

The FAIR Health report found that overall, the number of patients diagnosed with mental illness increased to 13.5 percent in 2019, to 18.9 percent in 2023, an increase of 39.8 percent.

In almost every age group, women were more likely than men to have mental health problems. Although there were increases in both sexes, women saw a 44.6 percent increase, while men saw a 32.7 percent jump.

The most common diagnoses were generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder and ADHD.

A recent CDC report found that nearly one in five Americans – 18.4% – reported being diagnosed with depression. This represents more than 46 million adults.

Furthermore, the NIH estimates that 31% of American adults – nearly 80 million – suffer from an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.

Meanwhile, federal data suggests that one in seven boys under 17 in the US have been diagnosed with ADHD and more than 8.7 million American adults have the disease.

The researchers noted that the study’s main limitation was only including data from patients with private insurance and only one form of Medicare, Medicare Advantage. The report has also not been peer-reviewed.

The following chart shows an increase in insurance claims for mental health diagnoses from 2019 to 2023

The following chart shows an increase in insurance claims for mental health diagnoses from 2019 to 2023

A TikTok user named Janice posted about her 79-year-old mother receiving an ADHD diagnosis for the first time

'She couldn't believe the difference the meds were making for her,' she said

A TikTok user named Janice posted about her 79-year-old mother receiving an ADHD diagnosis for the first time. ‘She couldn’t believe the difference the meds were making for her,’ she said

Several older adults reported being diagnosed with mental health problems now, rather than when they were younger, because they didn’t know what they were.

A TikTok user named Janine, for example, posted a video in July talking about her mother’s recent ADHD diagnosis.

“A few weeks ago, my mom, who’s 79, was diagnosed with ADHD for the first time, and I kind of brought it to her attention because both of my kids were diagnosed, and then I was diagnosed,” she said. .

Her experience made her realize that her mother may show signs. Soon after starting the medication, his mother noticed improvements.

“She had to call me yesterday just to tell me she did things,” Janine said. ‘That she got up, moved, wasn’t tired, was feeling active and couldn’t believe the difference the meds were making for her.’

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