A recent study has shown that individuals with ADHD who are not taking medication are at significantly greater risk of contracting COVID-19 than individuals without ADHD or those with ADHD who are being treated. The researchers leading the study suggested that impulsivity and the tendency for risk taking among people with ADHD may underlie these findings.
The study, published in the Journal of Attention Disorders, examined a population of 14,022 individuals who had been tested at least once for COVID-19. A total of 1,416 subjects (ranging from young children to elderly individuals) tested positive for COVID-19. This group had higher rates of ADHD than the COVID-19-negative individuals.
The study results showed that individuals with ADHD alone are about 52% more likely to have tested positive for COVID-19 compared to those without ADHD. And individuals with ADHD who do not use medication had a COVID infection rate up to 54% higher than the non-ADHD average..
Several factors linked to the disorder could account for the higher rate of infection among the untreated ADHD population.
- A greater inclination to taking risks such as coming into close contact with others or attending pubic gatherings.
- A tendency to prioritize short-term rewards at the cost of thinking through long-term consequences.
- Inattention to or forgetting to follow the safety recommendations by organizations such as the WHO and CDC.
The study findings provide underscore important it is for healthcare providers to educate their ADHD patients about the need to take preventive actions, and adhere to ADHD treatment regimes.