Child Suicide: ADHD Children at Risk

Posted by Laurie Winslow Sargent:


Stock Photo by David Castillo Dominici (FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

We found a thoughtful article by Kara Thompson at her blog, A Mom and Dad’s View of ADHD, and wanted to share it with you. It touches on child suicide, and how ADHD children are particularly at risk.

Following is an excerpt, so be sure to click the link at the end to read the rest at her blog. There you will find critical tips to help you if you are worried about a child you love.

Kara Thompson is a  Marriage and Family Therapist in Lenexa, Kansas and a homeschooling mom of a teenage son with ADHD. You can find Kara on her website at www.karathompson.com.

 Excerpt from The Dark Side: ADHD and Suicide

Welcome to your worst nightmare: Your child says he or she wants to die, or even worse, attempts suicide. I get asked a lot about suicide, and given that it’s a timely topic on the “A Mom’s View of ADHD” Facebook page, I thought I would share some information that you may find helpful if you find yourself in a situation where suicidality is involved (or where you suspect it is involved).

It should come as no surprise to most of you that children with ADHD are at risk for depression. A recent study headed up by Benjamin Lahey, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago, found that children with ADHD are up to four times as likely to become depressed than their peers without ADHD. The study also showed that children with early ADHD were five times as likely to have considered suicide, and twice as likely to have made an attempt. Ugh.

Unfortunately, I don’t find the figures surprising. When you think of all the stress and pressure kids are under these days, it’s extremely tough for them to make their way in this crazy world. Add ADHD into the mix, and it’s downright overwhelming.

So, what do you do if your child says they want to die?

First, look at med changes – just a small increase can wreak havoc on a kiddo’s brain. Call your doctor and let her know what you are hearing and seeing. Don’t be afraid to call – that’s what they are there for! And don’t let the doctor blow you off. If your doctor tells you not to worry, it’s time to look for a new doctor.

If meds don’t seem to be a factor, start formulating a safety plan for how you can help your child, while keeping your own emotions in check. I always encourage people to err on the side of overreacting, while staying calm. I like the way Michael Bradley handles the question of suicide in his book, “Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy.” He came up with some “Critical Do’s” and “Critical Don’ts” that may be helpful to you.

(CLICK HERE to read the rest of Kara’s article with great advice from Michael Bradley, at Kara’s blog. And thank you, Kara, for sharing this with us. )

 

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About ThinkingAboutSuicide.com

If depressed and suicidal, get help by dialing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline. IF IN IMMEDIATE DANGER of harming yourself or someone else, please call 911.1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or (in Spanish)
1-877-SUICIDA (1-877-784-2432).
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Our blog, Thinking About Suicide, offers personal stories and prayers from those who have overcome the urge to commit suicide or lost someone to suicide. We also list resources related to depression, bullying, cutting and other mental health related topics or news.
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Use our SEARCH box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics. Our authors hope to encourage you and remind you that others in situations like yours have found hope and help. We hope and pray you do too. However, we also encourage you to get local help if you are suicidal: call a counselor or the suicide prevention hotline to connect personally with someone who can help you.

Comments

  1. I think this is important to be aware of. As a mom of a son, 9, who has ADHD and has always struggled with sensory processing issues, plus the fact that he is adopted and has some health concerns genetically with mental health, I try to balance it between staying aware of his mental health and not reading something into everything. Books on the subject help a lot. There were things he would scream at 5 years old that did not seem typical 5-year-old behavior to me, but after reading more on ADHD it helped me understand the emotions involved and the lack of restraint in holding back whatever is going on in his mind at the time. As he comes to understand his ADHD better, (and medications have made a tremendous difference for him–and all of us), I hope he and I (and dad) can keep the communication as open as possible. thank you for tackling this subject!

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