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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2004 Dec;110(6):408-15.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and suicide: a review of possible associations.

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  • 1Highfield Adolescent Unit, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK.



To review the evidence of a possible association between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and suicide.


We searched the electronic data bases: Medline, Psych LIT, between 1966 and March 2003 looking for articles on ADHD, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and suicide.


An association of ADHD and completed suicide was found, especially for younger males. However, the evidence for any direct or independent link was modest with an overall suicide rate from long-term follow-up studies of ADHD of 0.63-0.78%. The estimated relative risk ratio, compared with US national suicide rates (males 5-24 years) is 2.91 (95% confidence interval 1.47-5.7, chi2 = 9.3, d.f. = 1, P = 0.002). ADHD appears to increase the risk of suicide in males via increasing severity of comorbid conditions, particularly conduct disorder (CD) and depression.


Identification of those at risk, particularly males with comorbid ADHD, depression and CD, may represent a useful clinical means of reducing completed suicide.

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