We already know about many different ADHD risks in terms of the harm this disease can create in a person’s life. We’re also beginning to understand more about how some mental health challenges are related, if not somewhat intertwined. That’s where co-occurring disorders diagnosis and treatment becomes extremely important. Despite these advancements, we still have quite a ways to go with regards to research.
That’s why the results of a recent study dealing with ADHD risks could be so important, as it may have uncovered potential ties to several other difficult mental health challenges. We’re going to discuss the approach and results of the ADHD risks study below, but if you or someone you love is suffering from this or any other mental health condition, contact our team of Orange County mental health professionals immediately to learn more about how we can help you.
About the ADHD Risks Study
The ADHD risks study, entitled, “Understanding the causal relationships of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder with mental disorders and suicide attempt: a network Mendelian randomisation study,” appears in the BMJ Mental Health journal. Its conclusions have drawn the attention of mental health professionals from all walks of life given the possibility of linkage between ADHD and other problems.
The researchers used an approach known as Mandelian randomization. According to an overview published by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, Mandelian randomization is defined as:
[A] method of using measured variation in genes of known function to examine the causal effect of a modifiable exposure on disease in observational studies.
In plainer language, Mandelian randomization makes use of genetic variants to determine whether or not there is a causal relationship between a risk factor and an outcome. In this situation, the “genetic variant” is people with ADHD, and the study attempted to determine if the presence of ADHD caused or presented as a risk factor to other mental health challenges.
The first step the researchers took was to determine if there was any link between ADHD and seven different mental health disorders, each of which is listed below and linked to additional information:
- Major clinical depression
- Bipolar disorder
- Anxiety disorder
- Anorexia nervosa
- At least one suicide attempt
The next step involved the researchers if the disorders determined to be potential ADHD risks could actually be responsible for the links that existed in the first analysis independently of the presence of ADHD. Finally, the researchers pooled the data from both analyses to determine the direct and indirect ADHD risks associated with these conditions.
Results of the ADHD Risks Study
The results of this study, and the resulting ADHD risks and links, were somewhat surprising. Based on the initial analysis described above, researchers found no causal link between ADHD and the following mental health conditions:
- Bipolar disorder
Additionally, the second analysis found that people with ADHD were 30 percent more likely to attempt suicide and 9 percent more likely to develop major depression. Therefore, ADHD risks were already found to include heightened risks for these two mental health challenges. Perhaps most troubling was the finding that once someone with ADHD developed depression, they were 42 percent more likely than others to commit suicide.
Genetics Does Not Equal Certain Results
We’ll get into the potential real-world implications of the ADHD risks study below, but one thing that should be noted is that genetics is only one unit of measurement. Yes, all of our foundations are genetic, but genetics in this regard only indicates a potential for ADHD and linked problems to arise in the future. A person’s environment, support network and other factors will ultimately influence whether or not those genetic predispositions manifest themselves and if so, how intensely.
What the ADHD Risks Study Means
In terms of practical applications of the ADHD risks study, what it should tell all of us is that if someone has ADHD, he or she is more vulnerable to developing other serious mental health disorders. Even the researchers in this study concluded that these results should prompt more proactive diagnostic and treatment approaches with regards to identifying ADHD in people. Doing so could help minimize those ADHD risks, which as seen above, can be gravely dangerous in some situations.
ADHD Can Be Treated and Managed
As we discuss on our own informational page regarding adult ADHD treatment, this is a difficult condition to encounter, but it’s also one that can be treated and managed to an extent. The symptoms of adult ADHD can be treated in many situations, as there is medication that has proven effective in fighting this disease. There are also other steps available that could be useful, such as some interpersonal life coaching that helps people recognize their specific challenges and manage them.
Ultimately, though, the real call-to-action here should start with more common and aggressive screening and testing for ADHD so that these ADHD risks do not become a reality. According to one well-known ADHD publication, some believe that as many as 75 percent of adults who currently have ADHD are not aware that they are suffering from this condition. Like anything else, any medical condition that goes untreated will at-best persist but will more likely get worse as time passes.
How SoCal Empowered Can Help
If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from adult ADHD, the time to act is now before any additional ADHD risks arise. You can take that all-important first step by contacting our team of Orange County mental health professionals to discuss your situation. We will listen to what’s happening and help you decide how to proceed, whether that involves a stay with us or making use of another resource.
If we decide a stay with us is advisable, we’ll work directly with your insurance company to determine coverage. That will eliminate any financial ambiguity or stress before you make any commitment. Contact us today to see what can be done to regain control of your life.