Girls with ADHD more prone to self-injury, suicide as they enter adulthood

Girls with ADHD more prone to self-injury, suicide as they enter adulthood

Science Daily, a science based blog which often includes information on medical issues including ADHD has an excellent review about girls with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and their families . (click on the link above to find it) They note how the families often "look forward to the likely decline in visible symptoms such as fidgety or disruptive behavior as they mature into young women. However, new findings from UC Berkeley caution that, as they enter adulthood, girls with histories of ADHD are more prone to internalize their struggles and feelings of failure -- a development that can manifest itself in self-injury and even attempted suicide."

According to the article, "Like boys with ADHD, girls continue to have problems with academic achievement and relationships, and need special services as they enter early adulthood," said Stephen Hinshaw, UC Berkeley professor of psychology and lead author of a study that reports after 10 years on the largest-ever sample of girls whose ADHD was first diagnosed in childhood.

I experience these special needs all the time with both girls and boys with ADHD who come to my office. While you can look on the web and see that "talk therapies" do little to help the symptoms of ADHD such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and poor emotional regulations, talk therapy, especially CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) specifically addresses these issues of anxiety and depression which we see in boys - and girls - not just teen agers, but also 8,9 and 10 year olds. Children with ADHD often have feelings of frustration, failure and hopelessness due to their ADHD symptoms. Some feel that they are "evil" in that they disobey their parents, cause fights between them and family stress, and can't seem to do the right thing even though they know what the right thing is. If you have a child with ADHD, girl or boy, I'd take a look at this article and consider your child's need for supportive counselling from a license or registered mental health professional. ADHD isn't just co-morbid with these disorders, but can be the root cause of many of them.  Not all children react this way, those with supportive families, friends and a positive school environment can and do do well. But a good relationship with an experienced mental health professional may be necessary.

Talk to your medical doctor about this need, or contact a registered or licensed psychologist for an assessment and consultation. It's best to teach children the social-emotional skills they need rather than to be applying these skills after the fact. Your best bet is to ask questions of trusted professionals in the field.