Suicide risk in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Psychiatr Danub. 2018 Mar;30(1):2-10. doi: 10.24869/psyd.2018.2.


Background: ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that manifests itself during childhood with various combinations of symptoms, including inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Research has shown that psychiatric comorbidities play an important role in the development of suicidal behavior and, recently, there has been a growing interest in a possible association between ADHD and suicide during both childhood and adulthood. Furthermore, some authors have shown a relationship between pharmacological treatments and suicide in patients affected by ADHD.

Aims: We conducted a selective review of current literature to explore the factors which contribute to suicidal behavior and self-harm in those with ADHD.

Methods: We performed a PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, PsycLit, and PsycINFO search to identify all articles and book chapters on the topic up to 2017.

Results: Several studies have showed that ADHD may be correlated with an increased suicide ideation and attempts.

Conclusions: Although differences in studies design and samples made the results difficult to compare and interpret, many studies indicate an association between ADHD and suicidal behavior. It remains controversial whether there is a direct relationship or whether the association depends on the increased prevalence of pre-existing comorbid conditions and individual and family dysfunctional factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Risk
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / psychology
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Suicide / psychology
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants