This week I learned of the suicide death of a very talented and intelligent young lady, 18 years old, with bipolar disorder. She was the valedictorian of my nephew's high school graduating class and had a four year scholarship to Columbia University. Her death impacted me deeply. How painful must her mind and thoughts have been to jump 14 stories to her death. The risk of suicide in those with depression and bipolar are well known, however I began to wonder if there a risk for those with ADHD.
In my research this week I did find some studies that looked at the risk, not many but what I found was disturbing. A large study done in Chicago and published in 2010, found that children diagnosed with ADHD between 4 and 6 years of age are at greater risk for depression and suicidal thoughts and actions between 9 and 18 years of age. In other words ADHD is not something to take lightly. It has short and long term consequences.
This study also found that girls with ADHD at 4 to 6 years of age were at greater risk for adolescent depression and suicide attempts that boys. Of note, another study done in 2012 found that girls with ADHD were four times more likely to attempt suicide as young women. This was more likely in those with early signs of impulsivity. To conclude, girls with childhood ADHD maintain marked impairment by early adulthood, spreading from symptoms to risk for serious harm.
In the Chicago study researchers also found that having the combined subtype predicted both depression and attempted suicide in adolescence, while having the inattentive type predicted only depression.
Of note some of the children in the study were medicated and some were not.
From these studies we can certainly conclude that early diagnosis and treatment for ADHD and depression are extremely important. Whatever your situation, seek professional help for your child if you suspect ADHD and/or depression. Please.
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