ADHD, depression and suicidal thoughts

Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a highly prevalentdisorder, affecting approximately 4.4 million children in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).  ADHD is often characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity.  A study from the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh suggests these traits may make children with ADHD more susceptible to depression and suicidal thoughts as young adults. This study was also reported by CNN.A long-term study published in the October issue of Archives of General Psychiatry indicates that children diagnosed with ADHD between ages 4 and 6 “are more likely to suffer from depression as adolescents than those who did not have ADHD at that age” (Science Daily).  The inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity so commonly identified in children with ADHD may “cause poor performance in school, difficulties in social situations and a loss of confidence and self esteem.”

The study followed 123 children diagnosed with ADHD at age 4 to 6 for up to 14 years, until they reached ages 18 to 20.  It compared them with 119 children from similar neighborhoods and schools, matched for age, sex and ethnicity.  The children were assessed annually in study years 1 through 4, 6 through 9 and 12 through 14. (Science Daily)

Eighteen percent of the children diagnosed with ADHD at a young age suffered depression as adolescents.  This figure is approximately 10 times the rate of that found in adolescents without ADHD.  Kids with ADHD were also five times more likely to have considered suicide at least one time, and twice as likely to have made an attempt (Science Daily).

Benjamin Lahey, Ph.D., a professor of health sciences and psychiatry at the University of Chicago, cautioned, “Suicide attempts were relatively rare, even in the study group.  Parents should keep in mind that more than 80 percent of the children with ADHD did not attempt suicide and not one in this study committed suicide.”

Nonetheless, the study indicates that parents of children that are diagnosed with ADHD at a young age should be keenly aware of their child’s emotional state.  Additionally, “children with inattention or combined subtype were at greater risk for depression.  Those with combined type or hyperactivity were at greater risk for suicidal thoughts.” Children with more complicated ADHD were more likely to be depressed and/or have suicidal thoughts than were children with less complicated ADHD.  Complication refers to the extensiveness of ADHD’s prevalence, whether or not children suffered from anxiety, displayed oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder symptoms. Although more boys than girls have ADHD, “being female increased the risk for depression.”  So, too, did having a mother who had suffered from depression.

Unfortunately, Brainjogging has witnessed the tolls of ADHD and depression on some of its own students.  Brainjogging, however, counteracts depression and enhances impulse control in individuals with ADHD.  Brainjogging is a viable solution to ADHD and related depression.

One Response to “ADHD, depression and suicidal thoughts”

  1. Zia Choudhry says:

    Please provide details of the Archives of General Psychiatry study. Thanks,


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