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Adhd Caused Self-Harm

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Anita Flaa


June 23, 2019

Rebecca Foy

ADHD Caused Self-Harm

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), A medical condition in a person that has differences in brain development and brain activity that affects a person’s attention, ability to sit still and maintain self-control (Hasan, 2017, para 1).  According to Holland, “The CDC says that 11 percent of American children, ages 4 to 17, have the attention disorder” (Holland, 2018, para 1). How is ADHD and suicide linked? Suicide appears to be a rising trend in people diagnosed with ADHD. In a study done by Karolinska Institute in Sweden, of the 52,000 patients with ADHD researchers found that 9.4 percent of those patients had attempted suicide (Dickerson, 2014). Why are people diagnosed with ADHD causing self-harm?  Self-harm is a major public health issue in young people worldwide and there are many challenges to its management and prevention. Numerous studies have indicated that ADHD is associated with completed suicides and other suicidal behaviors (Allely, 2014). This commentary essay will show the rising trend in the connection of suicide and ADHD. The connection of suicide and ADHD can be controlled and treated if society accepted there is a real diagnosis of ADHD, other mental illnesses were treated correctly and if doctors treated ADHD patients properly.  

Society tends to mis-treat or judge those with ADHD, despite that ADHD is a medical condition society sees it as an excuse for one’s actions and behavior. People diagnosed with ADHD are treated as if they are defective, they are ridiculed and discriminated against because they are considered “different”. Due to the way society perceives and treat people with the diagnoses of ADHD it has been known to push them to substance abuse, depression and suicide. ADHD is an illness with which comorbid depression and anxiety are commonly found and knowledge regarding the incidence of self-harm. According to Frye in 2016, “Recent statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found a suicide rate of 0.17 per 100,000 for children under the age of 12, while adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 commit suicide at a rate of 5.18 per 100,000.” (Frye, 2016 para 4). If society and professionals took ADHD more seriously these rates could drop. However, professionals need to exam the person with ADHD to determine if there is another mental illness that is underlying and causing the suicidal tendencies and behaviors.

People with ADHD are likely to have a range of coexisting conditions, possible coexisting conditions could be learning disabilities, anxiety, depression and bipolar (Holland, 2018).  If medical professionals diagnosed these possible coexisting conditions prior to the individual being diagnosed with ADHD it could have been treated properly and suicide could have been prevented. “The most common underlying disorder is depression, 30% to 70% of suicide victims suffer from major depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder” (“Suicide” 2019 para 1). Adolescents with ADHD and specific learning disorders are found to be a greater risk of suicide (Moses, 2017). Learning disorders, social anxiety and lower socioeconomic can cause an adolescent to be depressed. Could it be possible that a child could be misdiagnosed with ADHD when they really are bipolar manic depressant? The symptoms of ADHD and bipolar are similar. Bipolar signs and symptoms contain the some of the same as ADHD, a lot of energy, increased activity levels, feel “jumpy” or “wired”, trouble sleeping, more active than usual, talking fast about a lot of different things (“bipolar disorder” 2016).  Treating the proper diagnosis and ADHD patients properly could prevent suicide.

A little over six percent of children are being treated with medication for their ADHD diagnosis, while 23 percent of children in America have not received medication or counseling for their diagnosis (Holland, 2018). The most common treatment for an ADHD diagnosis is with stimulants such as, Adderall and Ritalin. Using such medications to treat ADHD if the person has bipolar disorder can be risky and cause severe mood swings (“bipolar disorder” 2016). Thus, is the reason that a proper diagnosis is needed. Prescribing the wrong medication to an individual can lead to suicide. Major mood swings can cause self-harm thoughts and behavior in a person with ADHD and bipolar disorder. Ensuring that someone is diagnosed properly and medicated properly can prevent suicide. It may not save everyone, but it is a step in the right direction and save at least one life.



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