TUESDAY, Oct. 6, 2020 — Individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) face higher financial distress and subsequent suicide risk, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in Science Advances.
Theodore P. Beauchaine, Ph.D., from The Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues used mental health data from the full population of Sweden (11.55 million) and a random sample of data on credit and defaults (189,267) to evaluate financial outcomes among adults with ADHD and to examine their association with suicide.
The researchers found that when controlling for psychiatric comorbidities, substance use, education, and income, those with ADHD start adulthood with normal credit demand and default rates. By middle age, their default rates grow exponentially, resulting in poor default risk scores and diminished credit access despite high demand. There is no association between sympathomimetic prescriptions and improved financial behaviors. Among those with ADHD, financial distress is associated with a fourfold higher risk for suicide. Among those who committed suicide, outstanding debt increased in the three years prior for men but not women.
“The impulsivity found in ADHD is predisposing to suicide. And if you have a lifetime of financial problems, that can lead to a sense of hopelessness,” Beauchaine said in a statement. “Hopelessness combined with impulsivity is a really bad combination and may increase the risk of suicide.”
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