People with ADHD (Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder) are often creative, charismatic and ambitious. Many, however, seek help due to struggles in education, work, finances or relationships. People with ADHD can struggle in other aspects of life too. For instance, it is also well known that accidents are commoner in people with ADHD: talk to any doctor working in Accident & Emergency. So, can ADHD be bad for your health, and if so how?
Recently, researchers have tried to answer these two questions by following up a large Swedish population (of about 2½ million) from the age of about six years, of whom 3.2% were diagnosed with ADHD (about 85,000) . Sweden is a very good country in which to do such a study, since the population register includes accurate recording of psychiatric diagnoses, and prescriptions issued.
They found that people with ADHD alone are about 1½ times more likely to die prematurely, but that risk of death becomes steadily higher the more mental health conditions co-exist with ADHD. With four or more mental health conditions, the risk of premature death is a staggering 25 times higher! Onset of psychiatric disorders in childhood or early adulthood seems to predispose people to earlier death due to natural causes. In contrast, late-onset psychiatric disorders predispose to death by suicide or unintentional injury.
The take-home messages from this are:
A) It is important to diagnose and treat ADHD as early as possible, with a view to preventing accidents, a small minority of which could be fatal (such as falling over a cliff, or driving a car too fast).
B) Getting help and treatment for ADHD and other mental health conditions can reduce these risks. At Psychiatry-UK, we have consultant psychiatrists with a variety of expertise who can help with all mental health conditions.
Dr Quentin Spender is a consultant psychiatrist specialising in children’s mental health with extensive experience and knowledge in ADHD. Dr Adam Joiner is a consultant psychiatrist working with adults and specialises in adult ADHD. You can book an assessment with them, or one of our other psychiatrists via this link….