The ADHD link to Premature Death, with a Higher Risk for Women

ADHD is a true disorder and should not be taken lightly

emergency entrance image
ADHD is a true disorder and should not be taken lightly. It’s common for people with ADHD to be impulsive and act without thinking, which can lead to fatal accidents. Image by Glen Steven Colen.

People with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more than twice as likely to die prematurely as those without the common disorder.

In a study of more than 2 million people, Danish researchers found that accidents were the most common cause of premature death among people with ADHD. And the risk was significantly higher for women and those diagnosed in adulthood, the researchers added.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common mental disorder associated with factors that are likely to increase mortality, such as oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder, criminality, accidents, and substance misuse. However, whether ADHD itself is associated with increased mortality remains unknown. We aimed to assess ADHD-related mortality in a large cohort of Danish individuals.

METHODS
By use of the Danish national registers, we followed up 1·92 million individuals, including 32,061 with ADHD, from their first birthday through to 2013. We estimated mortality rate ratios (MRRs), adjusted for calendar year, age, sex, family history of psychiatric disorders, maternal and paternal age, and parental educational and employment status, by Poisson regression, to compare individuals with and without ADHD.

FINDINGS
During follow-up (24·9 million person-years), 5580 cohort members died. The mortality rate per 10,000 person-years was 5·85 among individuals with ADHD compared with 2·21 in those without (corresponding to a fully adjusted MRR of 2·07, 95% CI 1·70-2·50; p<0·0001). Accidents were the most common cause of death. Compared with individuals without ADHD, the fully adjusted MRR for individuals diagnosed with ADHD at ages younger than 6 years was 1·86 (95% CI 0·93-3·27), and it was 1·58 (1·21-2·03) for those aged 6-17 years, and 4·25 (3·05-5·78) for those aged 18 years or older. After exclusion of individuals with oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, and substance use disorder, ADHD remained associated with increased mortality (fully adjusted MRR 1·50, 1·11-1·98), and was higher in girls and women (2·85, 1·56-4·71) than in boys and men (1·27, 0·89-1·76).

INTERPRETATION
ADHD was associated with significantly increased mortality rates. People diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood had a higher MRR than did those diagnosed in childhood and adolescence. Comorbid oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, and substance use disorder increased the MRR even further. However, when adjusted for these comorbidities, ADHD remained associated with excess mortality, with higher MRRs in girls and women with ADHD than in boys and men with ADHD. The excess mortality in ADHD was mainly driven by deaths from unnatural causes, especially accidents.

Sources and more information

  • Mortality in children, adolescents, and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a nationwide cohort study, NCBI PMID: pubmed 25726514, 2015 May 30.
  • The Surprising Link Between ADHD and Premature Death, news.health, February 26, 2015.

Author: DES Daughter

Activist, blogger and social media addict committed to shedding light on a global health scandal and dedicated to raise DES awareness.

2 thoughts on “The ADHD link to Premature Death, with a Higher Risk for Women”

Have your say! Share your views

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s