Referring to ADHD as a “Superpower” can lead to a mixed reaction- some find it extremely uplifting as the focus is on the more positive aspects of ADHD such as being more creative, inventive, enthusiastic, and this can most certainly be the case for some people.
For myself, searching for new hobbies to get the dopamine flowing has lead me down some amazing hobbies and pastimes which I often revisit over and over, when the mood strikes me. I have also discovered that I am extremely empathic, and able to see from another’s point of view with considerable ease (most of the time)!
I’ve discovered that where there is good, there is also a considerable amount of bad that comes along with having ADHD. For some, having ADHD can feel extremely limiting- the “D” part of ADHD (disorder) can feel very real to them. ADHD symptoms can leave them feeling as though they have no control over their life: feeling low, demotivated, struggling with rejection sensitivity dysphoria, and feeling as though their life has no purpose.
There can be also serious outcomes to having ADHD, especially for those who are undiagnosed, such as causing serious driving accidents, suicide, self-harm, and depression just to name a few- more awareness of these risks need to be brought into the spotlight.
Lack of Diagnosis
So many people are currently misdiagnosed, or completely unaware that what they even had ADHD. For many people with ADHD who are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, it may lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and an overall feeling of something never feeling quite right. This can be a lonely, frustrating, and upsetting experience.
10-25% of adults who have ADHD are diagnosed and treated. In one survey, 40% adults who met the ADHD criteria after seeing a healthcare professional still weren’t formally diagnosed, and only 10% of these adults received any treatment.
It is extremely common for those with ADHD to be accident prone, varying in different degrees of severity.
Some common ADHD traits which contribute to accidents include:
It comes as no surprise that those with ADHD may be accident prone. For example, forgetting that there is food cooking in the oven or on the hob, or drivers zoning out on autopilot.
A study in Denmark followed 1.92 million individuals from their first birthday up to 2013 (which was a maximum of 32 years). 32,000 of these individuals were diagnosed with ADHD, and 26% were women.
Over this period, 107 participants with ADHD died. The ratio of ADHD mortalities was 5.85 compared to the 2.21 without ADHD, and accidents were the leading cause of death.
These statistics meant that if you have ADHD, it is almost double the likelihood that they will die prematurely than those without. The cause may be by accidents, suicide, comorbidities, and substance abuse.
Another study from 2015 found that people with ADHD had an increased rate of between 42% – 47% of causing serious transportation accidents than those without ADHD, naming visual inattentiveness and impulsivity to be a major contributing factor.
Self Harm and Suicide
People who have ADHD are 6 to 10 times more likely to be at risk of suicidal thoughts and/or behaviours. Consider these additional symptoms:
A combination of some (let alone most) of these symptoms can lead to coping techniques such as self-harm, and worst case scenario when it all just becomes impossible, suicide.
Finally, another factor to consider towards higher mortality rates for those with ADHD would include self-medication. It is no secret that many with ADHD have addictive personalities, combined with the hunt for dopamine and risky behaviour may lead to accidental overdosing, not to mention becoming incredibly in debt, falling out with loved ones, and struggling to hold on to their jobs.
From the information I have pieced together for this article, I have painted a very grim view of ADHD I know, but it is worth noting that where some people can go their whole lives without too many issues with their ADHD, and others can struggle daily.
Those who struggle with these symptoms and feel it severely impacts their quality of life may want to seek diagnosis and treatment.
Yes, there are difficult aspects of having ADHD, but there can also be positives too. It will depend on how it impacts you and your life, and this will most certainly differ from person to person, not to mention what kind of support is available to them.
I hope you’ve found this article helpful, let me know your thoughts on the topic!
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Other Links on the Topic:
What to know about untreated ADHD in adults (Medical News Today)