Those diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to die early

Science and Health

A groundbreaking study has shown that individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) who do not receive medication are significantly more likely to die early, mainly due to unnatural causes such as accidents, drug overdoses, and suicide.

This research, which examined the health outcomes of tens of thousands of participants, underscores the vital role of medication in managing ADHD. The results were published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The Swedish study on ADHD and mortality

A detailed investigation followed nearly 150,000 Swedes, aged 6 to 64, who were diagnosed with ADHD between 2007 and 2018, to explore the condition’s impact on mortality. Researchers monitored deaths within two years of diagnosis, comparing those who were treated with ADHD medication against those who were not.

Findings highlight the protective effect of ADHD medication

The study revealed a clear difference: there were 48 deaths per 10,000 individuals with untreated ADHD, versus 39 deaths per 10,000 among those who received medication. This represents a 19% reduction in the risk of death for those under treatment, especially noting a decreased risk of dying from unnatural causes like accidents, substance misuse, and suicide.

Beyond the numbers: ADHD’s broader impacts

The research further highlights how untreated ADHD increases the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors, leading to fatal accidents, smoking, and drug addiction.

Pills on health form (credit: INGIMAGE)

ADHD is also associated with psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety, which can increase the risk of suicide.

ADHD: a neuro-developmental disorder with widespread implications

Professor Iris Manor, a renowned child psychiatrist, pointed out that ADHD is not just a psychological issue but a neuro-developmental disorder affecting the brain’s structure.

Proper treatment with medication can significantly improve overall functioning and mitigate risks related to the disorder.

Recent studies suggest that ADHD may have an inflammatory aspect, indicating the potential anti-inflammatory benefits of ADHD medications.

Global impact and the need for attention

Affecting approximately 4% of adults and 11% of children worldwide, ADHD presents a variety of symptoms, including inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

The disorder’s extensive effects on education, family life, and professional success highlight the importance of early diagnosis and treatment.

In Israel, where the research was conducted, the diagnosis of ADHD follows international criteria, involving thorough evaluations and the “Moxo” computerized test, providing a scientific foundation for diagnosis and treatment effectiveness.

This study not only emphasizes the life-saving potential of ADHD medication but also advocates for greater awareness and healthcare support for individuals living with ADHD around the globe.