It must be noted that ADHD does not happen in isolation and that the adolescent will have many other social and environmental factors that influence and shape their behaviour. Equally adolescence is a challenging time for all young men and women as they try to deal with puberty, increasingly complex peer group pressures and the cognitive demands of schools and colleges. What is certain is that individuals with ADHD are much more likely to experience significant difficulties coping during this challenging period of their lives.
Self-Harm and Suicide
Self-harm behaviours are higher in children and adolescents with ADHD and may reflect the internal restlessness, frustration and anxiety experienced by many. It is important that staff in schools and colleges as well as parents at home are vigilant to this as self-harm can be a precursor to suicidal thoughts. There is strong evidence that both ADHD young men and women are more likely to commit suicide than those without the diagnosis. (Note, this increased risk must be put into context. Suicide is a very rare event. For example, UK suicide rate in 2017 was 10.1 in 100,000 or in other words only 0.011% of the population. Source: ONS accessed 30/09/18.) However any increased risk of ADHD individuals committing suicide is a cause for concern. It may reflect the tendency of some individuals to act out thoughts on impulse. Another risk factor is the increased chance of experimenting with drugs, alcohol and tobacco. ADHD adolescents in homes that already have social stresses such as single parents, low socio-economic status, poor living conditions and parental use of drugs, alcohol or tobacco will have increased risks of developing mental health issues.