Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with risk-taking behavior, leading to accidents and unintentional injuries (summarized here as incidents). Main aim of this study is to determine if men and women with and without ADHD differ in the risk of mild (treated outpatient) and severe (treated inpatient) incidents across the adult lifespan (age groups: 18-29; 30-59, and ≥60 years). Secondary aim: investigate the role of comorbid mental disorders and drugs for the treatment of these comorbidities, and ADHD-medication.
Using anonymized German claims data (N = 4,575,027), adults with ADHD diagnosis during 2016-2019 (N = 17,041) were compared with a 1:4 age and sex-matched group without ADHD diagnosis. Regression analyses statistically tested group differences.
Incidents occur in a U-shaped form across the adult lifespan. Individuals with ADHD show the same pattern but at a substantially increased risk of both mild and severe incidents throughout the lifespan. Women without ADHD are at lower risk in young adulthood than men but at higher risk in older adulthood. Women with ADHD show the same pattern for severe incidents, but for mild incidents they have the highest risk throughout the lifespan. Co-occurring anxiety disorder and the use of psycholeptics and ADHD-medication decreased the incident risk.
We extend available knowledge which has hitherto focused on young adult males and traffic accidents. ADHD is associated with increased incidents across the adult lifespan, with distinct patterns regarding age, sex, and incident severity. An accurate diagnosis of ADHD in adulthood provides the first step towards prevention of accidents and unintentional injuries.

© 2022 The Authors. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.