ADHD and Suicide Risk

Research by Fuller-Thomson, Esme; Rivière, Raphael; Carrique, Lauren; & Agbekaya, Senyo (2020). The dark side of ADHD: Factors associated with suicide attempts among those with ADHD in a national representative Canadian sample.Archives of Suicide Research, 1–19.

Written by Robin N. Fatovic ’20 M.S.

Suicide has increased dramatically. Thus, suicide prevention by identifying risk factors is important to improve suicide screening.

Canadian suicide researchers aimed to identify if those diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, are at a greater risk for attempting suicide. They analyzed data from over 20,000 respondents from the national Canadian Community Health Survey.

Results: 14% of adults with ADHD attempted suicide compared to 2.7% of adults without. Though significant for both sexes, twice as many women as men attempted suicide. Male attempters were more likely to be white, while women were less likely white.

Of the 530 respondents with ADHD, the results showed specific suicide risk factors, included being a woman, substance abuse, witnessing domestic violence during childhood, a lifetime of depression and having less education. In fact, those with ADHD who had higher education had 64% lower odds of attempting suicide. Thus, educate!

The researchers suggest those diagnosed with ADHD may be at a greater risk of suicide due to increased impulsivity. Learning and practicing healthy coping skills can be helpful in creating space between thought and action!

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