Children with ADHD face more challenges than sitting still in class. They are also at significant risk for depression.
New research from the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh found that kids with ADHD are 4 to 6 times more likely than their peers to suffer depression as adolescents. They are also a greater risk for suicide attempts, though no one in the study committed suicide (thankfully!).
The researchers hope this study will be a wake-up call for parents to pay even more attention to their children’s early behavioral and learning issues, and get help when it’s needed.
The kids in this study were all diagnosed with ADHD between ages 4 and 6, and the study followed them for 12 to 14 years. The findings are striking:
18 percent of children diagnosed early with ADHD suffered from depression as adolescents, about 10 times the rate among those without ADHD. Children with early ADHD were five times as likely to have considered suicide at least once, and twice as likely to have made an attempt.
The more complex the children’s symptoms were, and the earlier they were diagnosed, the more at-risk they were for adolescent depression. Kids with hyperactivity as well as inattention suffered more depression than those who were only inattentive. Similarly, children with concurrent disorders like oppositional defiant disorder had more issues in adolescence.
I was first diagnosed with ADHD at age 4, and reading this study gave me chills. This was *exactly* my experience of adolescence. I really hope parents, educators and doctors take this heart when dealing with ADHD children at any age.
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