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Childhood Injuries Can Be a Warning Sign of ADHD

When I was 12, I casually drove a sharp implement into the back of my hand. I didn’t even notice until I looked down and there was a lot of blood.

I was taken to the hospital and got my hand closed up. I still have a scar on my hand, but as far as the different kinds of scars childhood can leave you with, this one doesn’t effect my life in any way today!

Hospital Emergency RoomStill, was nonchalantly impaling one of my own limbs a red flag that all was not as it should be as far as my attentive abilities were concerned? According to a new study from researchers in Turkey, the answer is probably yes.

In the study, the researchers screened 222 children who had been admitted to the emergency room for symptoms of ADHD. Strikingly, four out of every five children had symptoms of possible ADHD.

Now, this number is so high that more studies need to be done to back it up. But the general trend of children admitted to the ER having higher rates of ADHD isn’t anything new. For example, one study found that children admitted to a hospital for unintentional injuries were more than three times as likely to have ADHD as those admitted for appendicitis. And as I’ve written about before, large studies have shown both adults and children with ADHD to be more accident-prone.

It’s not hard to see why this might be the case. Combine literally any physically risky situation with any ADHD symptom, and there’s potential for trouble. Inattentiveness + hot objects? Check. Impulsivity + sharp objects? Also check.

The authors of the latest paper on ADHD rates among children admitted to the ER suggest it might be worth screening for ADHD symptoms in children with accidental injuries. Beyond the usual benefits of getting an ADHD diagnosis sooner rather than later, there’s a very concrete payoff here: better managed ADHD symptoms = less chance of another trip to the emergency room.

At the very least, though, people who have ADHD or have children with ADHD should be aware that physical injuries are one visceral way that inattentive and impulsive symptoms can affect everyday life. It’s no accident that people with ADHD tend to have accidents!

Image: Flickr/Mark Goebel

Childhood Injuries Can Be a Warning Sign of ADHD

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. (2019). Childhood Injuries Can Be a Warning Sign of ADHD. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 6, 2020, from


Last updated: 24 Jan 2019
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