A new study shows that the self harm risks for young women who suffer from early trauma and from ADHD both are much higher than groups with either factor alone. University of California, Berkeley researchers discovered that women diagnosed with ADHD that have had early trauma in childhood and teenage years have a higher risk of harming themselves than individuals who have ADHD but no childhood trauma, and those who have had trauma but not ADHD. The latest study findings adds support for the model that there are many environmental factors that can affect the psychosocial outcome for an individual who has ADHD. The new study was published and can be found in the Development and Psychopathology journal.
According to Maya Guendelman, the lead study author on the research concerning ADHD, environment, and self harm risks, physicians need to pay attention to environmental factors. “While ADHD is clearly a heritable and biologically based disorder, and can be treated with medications, it is very important for clinicians and treatment providers to pay close attention to the trauma experiences of individuals, particularly women, with ADHD.” Another question that may need to be answered is whether children and adolescents are more likely to be mistreated or suffer early trauma because of the stress that this condition can cause for the entire family unit. Gundelman continued by explaining “In the United States, we have a large contingent of kids being diagnosed with ADHD. At the same time, 10 to 20 percent of U.S. kids are abused or neglected. But we have very limited understanding of the overlap between these two groups. What if, in some portion of cases, we as clinicians, parents, and teachers are superficially seeing and diagnosing and treating symptoms of hyperactivity and inattention, but it is really trauma experiences that underlie some of those overt manifestations of ADHD?”