ADHD Linked To Increased Risk of Accidents and Premature Death

Dr Søren Dalsgaard National Centre for Register-based Research Aarhus University Interview with:
Dr Søren Dalsgaard
National Centre for Register-based Research
Aarhus University Denmark

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This is the first large-scale prospective study of all-cause-mortality in people with ADHD. The nationwide Danish registers offer unique research possibilities. We followed a cohort of almost 2 million individuals prospectively, from birth and for up to 32 years. Using a personal identifier we were able to merge data from a number of different registers at the level of each individual and within the cohort we identified and followed more than 32,000 individuals with ADHD and the rest of the cohort were controls

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: In this study we document that children, adolescents and adults with ADHD are at risk of premature death, compared to people without ADHD, in fact, ADHD doubles the risk. Still, it is important to notice that although ADHD increases the relative risk of premature death, the absolute risk is very low, i.e. very few died during follow-up, in fact only 107 out of the more than 32,000 individuals with ADHD we followed.

The most common cause of death in individuals with ADHD was accidents.

Those diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood had higher mortality than those diagnosed in childhood and adolescence. In addition, co-existing problems such as conduct disorder or substance use disorder in individuals with ADHD further increases mortality. However, even those with more pure DHD had an increased mortality, compared to those without ADHD. Finally, we also examined gender-differences in mortality and found that girls and women with ADHD had a higher mortality than boys or men with ADHD.

Our results adds to the overwhelming existing evidence that ADHD is a true disorder and should not be taken lightly. ADHD has huge impacts on everyday life and people with ADHD and their families deserves that this is acknowledged.

Although the risk of premature death is twice that of individuals without ADHD, it is important to remember reassure patients with ADHD and their families, that there was very few absolute number of deaths among individuals with ADHD.


Mortality in children, adolescents, and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a nationwide cohort study
Published online: February 25, 2015
Søren Dalsgaard, Søren Dinesen Øtergaard, James F Leckman, Preben Bo Mortensen, Marianne Giørtz Pedersen
The Lancet


Dr Søren Dalsgaard, National Centre for Register-based Research, & Aarhus University Denmark (2015). ADHD Linked To Increased Risk of Accidents and Premature Death 

Last Updated on February 26, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD