People with ADHD more likely to die young
New research published by scientists from the University of Denmark suggests that people with ADHD have a lower life expectancy and are more than twice as likely to die prematurely compared to their peers without the disorder. The study identifies accidents as the leading cause of death, and says that women and individuals diagnosed in adulthood were found to have a much higher risk of dying prematurely.
The team tracked nearly 2 million individuals from the Danish national registers, including more than 32,000 people with ADHD from their first birthday to 2013 (a maximum of 32 years). During follow-up, 107 individuals with ADHD died. People with ADHD were about twice as likely to die prematurely as people without the disorder, even after adjusting for factors known to affect the risk of early death including age, sex, family history of psychiatric disorders, maternal and paternal age, and parental education.
The increased risk of premature death was mainly driven by deaths from unnatural causes--more than half of the deaths were caused by accidents. They also found that the risk of dying prematurely increased with age at diagnosis and that girls and women with ADHD have a higher relative risk of premature death compared with boys and men with ADHD.
The researchers, who published their study in The Lancet, note that their findings emphasize the importance of diagnosing ADHD early, and to treat any co-existing antisocial and substance use disorders.
They also note that although the relative risk of premature death is higher with ADHD, the absolute risk is low.