The following is a summary of “Risk factors of suicidal spectrum behaviors in adults and adolescents with attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder – a systematic review,” published in the August 2023 issue of Psychiatry by Austgulen et al.
People with adolescents and adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to have SSBs, but the triggers are not well known. Researchers performed a retrospective study to investigate the risk factors for suicidal behavior in people with ADHD.
A systematic literature search followed PRISMA guidelines in Ovid MEDLINE and Web of Science databases. The search used three categories of terms; self-harm, suicide-related terms, adults, adolescents, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder/ADHD. The included studies with data on mediating factors of suicidal spectrum behaviors in individuals over 16 with a clinical ADHD diagnosis.
Out of 604 articles identified, 40 were selected for the study. Factors linked to a higher likelihood of suicidal spectrum behaviors (SSBs) in ADHD included severe and persistent symptoms, female gender, family history of ADHD, childhood and parental influences, and social functioning. Even after accounting for psychiatric comorbidities, most studies indicated increased SSB risk in adults and adolescents with ADHD.
This study highlighted the various factors that elevate SSB risk in individuals with ADHD, being an independent risk. This has important clinical implications for screening and suicide prevention. Future longitudinal research should explore preventive strategies across the ADHD severity spectrum.