Tags: adhd | suicide | injury | girl

ADHD Hikes Self-injury, Suicide Risk

Thursday, 16 August 2012 05:27 PM

Girls with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are more prone to internalize their personal struggles and feelings of failure – tendencies that can increase the risk of self-injury and even attempted suicide later in life, new research has found.

The study, conducted by University of California-Berkeley psychologists, found that girls with a history of ADHD show fewer visible signs of the disorder as they enter adulthood, but continue to suffer in hidden ways.

The findings, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, challenge assumptions that girls can "outgrow" ADHD and underscore the need for long-term monitoring and treatment of the disorder.
"Like boys with ADHD, girls continue to have problems with academic achievement and relationships, and need special services as they enter early adulthood," said lead researcher Stephen Hinshaw, a UC-Berkeley professor of psychology. "Our findings of extremely high rates of cutting and other forms of self-injury, along with suicide attempts, show us that the long-term consequences of ADHD females are profound."
To reach their conclusions, Hinshaw and colleagues tracked about 140 young San Franciso-area women who were diagnosed with ADHD as children for a 10-year period, beginning in 1997. They then compared them to a similar group of 88 women who had no history of ADHD.
The study's major finding was that the group with ADHD during childhood was by far the most likely to engage in self-injury and suicide attempts in early adulthood.
"A key question is why, by young adulthood, young women with ADHD would show a markedly high risk for self-harm … Impulse control problems appear to be a central factor," the study said.
Researchers also noted girls with ADHD were more likely to struggle academically and be rejected by their peers as kids, compared to those without the disorder. As adolescents, eating disorders and substance abuse surfaced in many with ADHD. As young women, those with ADHD showed improvement in ADHD symptoms but certain problems persisted and new ones – including self-injury and suicide attempts – emerged, suggesting that careful monitoring and treatment are essential.
"The overarching conclusion is that ADHD in girls portends continuing problems, through early adulthood," the study concluded. "Our findings argue for the clinical impact of ADHD in female samples, the public health importance of this condition on girls and women, and the need for ongoing examination of underlying mechanisms, especially regarding the high risk of self-harm in young adulthood."
More than 5 million American children – approximately one in 11 – have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ADHD is characterized by poor concentration, distractibility, hyperactivity, impulsiveness and other symptoms. Treatment typically includes stimulant medications and behavioral therapy.
The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

© HealthDay

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Girls with ADHD are more prone to self-injury and even attempted suicide later in life.
Thursday, 16 August 2012 05:27 PM
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