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OBJECTIVE: To review the evidence of a possible association between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and suicide. DESIGN: We searched the electronic data bases: Medline, Psych LIT, between 1966 and March 2003 looking for articles on ADHD, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and suicide. RESULTS: An association of ADHD and completed suicide was found, especially for younger males. However, the evidence for any direct or independent link was modest with an overall suicide rate from long-term follow-up studies of ADHD of 0.63-0.78%. The estimated relative risk ratio, compared with US national suicide rates (males 5-24 years) is 2.91 (95% confidence interval 1.47-5.7, chi2 = 9.3, d.f. = 1, P = 0.002). ADHD appears to increase the risk of suicide in males via increasing severity of comorbid conditions, particularly conduct disorder (CD) and depression. CONCLUSION: Identification of those at risk, particularly males with comorbid ADHD, depression and CD, may represent a useful clinical means of reducing completed suicide.

Original publication




Journal article


Acta Psychiatr Scand

Publication Date





408 - 415


Adolescent, Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity, Bipolar Disorder, Comorbidity, Conduct Disorder, Depressive Disorder, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Male, Substance-Related Disorders, Suicide, United Kingdom, Suicide Prevention