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ADHD and Injury Proneness

Who knew having ADHD was such a dangerous business? I wish they’d told me before I signed up!

It’s not hard to see why ADHD can potentially hurt more than just your grades, your employment prospects, and your relationships.

Inattention + sharp objects. Need I say more?

InjuryI’ve talked about the dangers of cooking with ADHD before. But cooking isn’t the only activity where people with ADHD are at risk. Lapses of attention can make almost anything more dangerous. Driving is a notable example.

As if that’s not enough, many people with ADHD tend to seek out stimulation, which can draw them to risky activities. A little excitement can wake the ADHD brain up – occasionally at some cost to life and limb.

Recently, a team of researchers in Taiwan did a study, trying to determine how injury-prone people with ADHD really are. They tracked 665 adults with ADHD as well as 1,995 demographically similar adults without ADHD for comparison.

Overall, they found that the adults with ADHD had a 143 percent greater risk of injury. That’s a pretty stark number – the researchers concluded that their findings “strongly support” the idea that people with ADHD are more likely to be injured.

The findings also supported the idea that when it comes to injury-proneness, medication can help. When participants were treated with methylphenidate, they experienced a 22.6 percent drop in injury risk.

By the way, it’s not just adults with ADHD who are injury-prone. A 2013 study, also done in Taiwan but with an even larger sample size of 1,965 patients and 7,860 health controls, found that children and teens with ADHD between the ages of 6 and 18 are at two to five times higher risk for injury.

So, although you may not see “liable to remove one’s finger while preparing dinner” on the DSM list of ADHD symptoms, ADHD does seem to be associated with injury proneness in both children and adults. It’s an important reminder that ADHD meds can literally save lives, and that ADHD symptoms have wide-ranging effects beyond the ones that first come to mind like doing poorly in school and having problems at work.

Image: Flickr/marktristan

ADHD and Injury Proneness

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on education, learning disabilities and technology. He received his B.A. in 2014 and was diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of his college studies. Neil also works for a music education non-profit and hopes to help create an education system that can better serve students with ADHD.

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2017). ADHD and Injury Proneness. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 11, 2020, from


Last updated: 5 May 2017
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