Results of a major research study show that adolescent girls with ADHD are more likely to attempt suicide and to inflict injury on themselves than non-ADHD girls of the same age.

The study, led by Stephen Hinshaw, PhD and published in the online Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, reports that these tendencies show up more often in girls diagnosed with primarily impulsive type ADHD. The majority of girls are diagnosed with combined type ADHD, which includes impulsivity as well as inattention, so many are at risk.

I am not surprised in the least. For years I have scoured medical journals and psychology websites for some evidence that ADHD produces a higher rate of suicide (or suicide attempts). I have found precious little research to support my suspicion that ADHD heralds a sobering proclivity to hopelessness. After years of attempting solutions that fail, some adults and children see no other way out but to take their own lives.

As with most research, the data is subject to interpretation. But Dr. Hinshaw has written that societal and peer pressure on adolescent and even elementary school girls, is so strong that it’s almost impossible to avoid psychological damage. “At least one fourth of all U.S. teenage girls are suffering from self-mutilation, eating disorders, significant depression or serious consideration of suicide.” (from Hinshaw’s book The Triple Bind ©2009). Add ADHD into the mix and despair creeps in.

My hunch is that future research will show that these statistics are true for adults with ADHD, too. I have informally surveyed groups of ADHD adults with ADHD about their close encounters with suicide. The completely unscientific ratio of those who have considered suicide vs those who have not is about 50-50. Clearly not all ADHD adults are at risk but some of us are.

If you are in the crosshairs of several crises and your resilience has evaporated, it is critically important to treat your ADHD instead of hoping it will disappear. Find a therapist, an ADHD coach or even a no-judgmental friend who can listen, offer additional coping strategies and bolster your flagging self esteem. Perhaps it's time for a check in with your doctor who may adjust medication or suggest additional treatment.

Finally, know that you are not alone. There is an online community of ADHD support (like this website) with whom you can share your burden. There may be local support groups for ADHD adults or parents. Information is power; the more you know about your particular form of ADHD and how to work with it, the less likely you will give in to hopelessness. Life is worth living; the world needs you.

Author's Bio: 

Linda Roggli is a certified ADHD coach and author of the award-winning book "Confessions of an ADDiva: midlife in the non-linear lane." She is a popular speaker at ADHD conferences and educational webinars for adults with ADHD. She is the founder of the ADDiva Network for women with ADHD.