Type 2 Diabetes – Is There A Connection Between ADHD and Diabetes?

ADHD is a term used to describe a neurodevelopment disorder where there is a persistent and recognized pattern of behavior. The condition begins at birth and in most cases persists to some degree through the person's lifetime. The disorder includes …

  • acting on impulse without thinking about the consequences,
  • having difficulty staying on task, and
  • moving about inappropriately.

A person diagnosed with ADHD may continue interrupt others or feel unable to sit still, fidget, be disorganized, or can not stick to specific tasks. This is not due to the lack of cooperation or the inability to understand directions. If this sounds familiar it is because all of us occasionally suffer the same signs and symptoms. The difference is one of degree. When ADHD interferees with work, school, or life, in general, it can come to the attention of a therapist, who must …

  • decide among medications,
  • behavioral treatment, or a
  • combination of both.

Early research has shown young people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, but what is it for ADHD? Obesity, high blood pressure, and abnormal blood fats are seen in both conditions. Could one of them cause both? Or is there something else they have in common? Scientists at Taipei Veterans General Hospital and several other research facilities on Taiwan set out to find the answer, and in May of 2018, the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reported their findings.

The investigators compared …

  • 35,949 young people with ADHD, and
  • 71,898 healthy individuals of the same age and gender.

The young people with ADHD had three times the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than non-ADHD individuals. Those with ADHD taking atypical antipsychotic medications were more than twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who were receiving other types of treatment. From these results, the researchers concluded atypical antipsychotics could have been involved in the development of Type 2 diabetes, and further study is needed to resolve this possibility.

The possibility of developing Type 2 diabetes is not the only concern when psychiatric medications are given. The risk of …

  • movement disorders,
  • stroke,
  • heart attack, and
  • blood clots

are also associated with some medications.

Behavioral therapy is the choice of many clinicians. Children with ADHD can be helped with …

  • regular schedules,
  • keeping diaries, and
  • careful supervision.

Structured environments let people know what to expect and what is expected of them. A team approach including clinicians, teachers, and parents is a safe and frequently effective approach.