Adult ADHD Increases Risk Of Early Death, New Study Warns

Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is an underestimated issue, researchers warn, and the neurological condition commonly seen as one affecting children is, in fact, also a serious concern for adults living with the disorder — many of whom live with increased risks including early death.

A new population-based study focused on the effects of adult ADHD and its prevalence in kids originally diagnosed with the disorder. What researchers found is that nearly 30 percent of children with ADHD were found to retain the condition in adulthood, and the implications on several aspects of life were impacted by their disorder.

Adult ADHD has long been linked with certain challenges for those diagnosed and undiagnosed or untreated, including greater job instability, increased marital difficulties and instance of divorce, as well as financial strain stemming from decreased ability or inability to remain organized.

The adult ADHD findings, published in April’s edition of the medical journal Pediatrics, were released online today. The study indicates that a stunning 57 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD during childhood were found to present with at least one additional psychiatric disorder as adults, compared to 35 percent of people in that age group who had not been diagnosed with ADHD as kids.

Among those studied, researchers say the group diagnosed with ADHD as kids tended to often register for a common group of psychiatric problems as adults, including:

  • Alcohol abuse or dependence, 26 percent;
  • Antisocial personality disorder, 17 percent;
  • Other substance abuse or dependence 16 percent;
  • Hypomanic episodes, 15 percent;
  • Anxiety disorder, 14 percent;
  • Major depression, 13 percent.

According to researchers, adult ADHD sufferers risk increased chance of early death for reasons including suicide, and they noted:

“This finding suggests the psychiatric comorbidities associated with ADHD may place patients at risk for early death, although the relatively small number of cases precludes a statistical analysis.”

Drinking Alcohol

MedPageToday quotes William Barbaresi, MD, of Boston Children’s Hospital as writing:

“It is concerning that only a minority of children with ADHD reaches adulthood without suffering serious adverse outcomes, suggesting that the care of childhood ADHD is far from optimal … Our results also indicate that clinicians, insurers, and healthcare systems must be prepared to provide appropriate care for adults with ADHD.”

The study of ADHD in adults included a total of 5,718 people, with an average age of between 27 and 29.