The Aging Brain
RESOURCES FOR UNDERSTANDING THE BRAIN AND HOW IT CHANGES AS WE AGE

     Welcome to Dr. Sterling's Aging Brain Web Page!

    The mission of this page is to provide you with information and resources for understanding how the brain changes as we age and what we know about how it repairs itself and how to keep it as healthy as possible.

     The Brain Goes Through Many Phases as we Age.

     Melatonin -- A Supplement That May be Helpful.

     Depression is Not a Normal Part of Aging!

     The Hippocampus -- Small but Important Part of Human Brain.

     Older Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

    Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) -- also called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disoder (ADHD) -- in younger adults only started receiving proper attention in the last eight years. This means that in the over-50 population, the diagnosis and treatment of ADD is under-researched and lags way behind. Historically, ADD in children has received the most attention because of the challenges that hyperactive, impulsive children caused for school systems. ADD has two types of expression -- a hyperactive type and what I call a "day-dreamer" type.

    I favor using the term Attention Deficit Disorder because it helps combat the misperception that some form of hyperactivity is necessary for the diagnosis to be made. Hyperactivity does not have to be present to make the ADD diagnosis. It used to be thought that children with ADD grew out of it, but it became evident that what they were actually growing out of was just the hyperactive component. Many children with ADD became adults with untreated ADD. Many were never diagnosed during their school years because they weren't causing problems (the day-dreamer type). They often experienced failures in higher education and had lifestyles of rapidly changing jobs, poor work skills, and difficult relationships. Due to frequent failures, adults with ADD often get depressed and experience chronic low self-esteem.

    Here are a few signs of ADD in adults: (1) Inattention and memory problems -- losing or forgetting things, being absent-minded, not finishing things, misjudging time, trouble getting started ("procrastination"); (2) Hyperactivity and restlessness; and, (3) Impulsivity and emotional instability -- saying things without thinking first, interrupting others, easily frustrated and angered, unpredictable moods, driving recklessly. ADD seems to be distributed equally between women and men.

    To read Dr. Sterling's complete article on ADD and older adults please go to Older Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.

    Not all people with ADD have difficulties and problems. There are people who, because of their particular circumstances, intelligence level, or support system, do very well. They may be very creative and energetic, and accomplish a lot. However, in those people who are experiencing mostly the downside of ADD, I recommend a thorough evaluation and a treatment plan. To read more about Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, please go to our All About Adult ADD Web site.

     Reversible Dementias?

    If you are visiting this page after reading Dr. Sterling's October 2004 Mind Matters article, you already know a little bit about the differences between a true dementia and a "pseudodementia." For those of you who have not read that article, please go to Reversible Dementias.

    Below you will find links to resources for understanding dementia and, especially, for understanding the differences between true dementias and "false" dementias and dementia and delirium. In this period of time in the United States, it is more important than ever that younger adults with aging parents learn as much as they can about the dementias and delirium so that they can be informed and up-to-date on issues they may be challenged with as their parents grow older.

     Read More about Mental Wellness.

    Visit MentalWellness.ws to get comprehensive information about mental wellness, including discussions about brain fitness, exercise, resilience, self-appreciation, social networking, and love.

     Thank You for Stopping By!

    Thank you for visiting! Please check back often for updated information.

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RON STERLING, M.D.
General and Geriatric Psychiatry
SeniorMentalHealth.org
Phone: 206-784-7842
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Updated October 7, 2007
Copyright 2000-2007. Ron Sterling, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
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