I was reading news online when I saw two news stories about ADHD and violence.
In story #1 – 9 News in Colorodo reports on Matthew Murray – who shot and killed four people before killing himself in December 07. Toward the bottom of the article, this story reports on how Matthew had ADHD, had been on ritalin in the past, and stopped it at his own request 6 years before the shootings.
In story #2 – An 18 year old young man with untreated ADHD was charged for stabbing someone. One interesting aspect of this story is that this young man could not receive any help or treatment for his ADHD (i.e. non was available, even acknowledged by the judge in the case).
These stories beg the question:
Does ADHD lead to violence?
The answer is yes and no.
When people have untreated ADD or ADHD, they have a higher risk of violence. However, there are many people with ADD or ADHD (even if it is untreated) who are not violent at all.
The diagnosis of ADHD includes the fact that people are impulsive – i.e. they often act before they think. This can be a risk factor for violence.
Some research shows that approximately 50% of people incarcerated have undiagnosed or untreated ADHD.
ADHD is a risk factor for violence.
Treating ADHD lowers that risk.
Do I believe that the diagnosis of ADHD led Matthew Murray to shoot 4 people and then himself?
Do I believe that the diagnosis of ADHD led Alfie Goody to stab someone?
No – I think that would completely over-simplify the issue.
All I can say is that research shows that treating ADHD can reduce the risk of violence.
If your child, teen, spouse, or someone else that you care about has ADD or ADHD, and is showing some violent tendencies – see if you can get treatment for their ADD or ADHD. It may make a big difference.
I realize that this article may be quite controversial for many of you. Please enter your comments below.
p.s. Medications are effective treatments for ADD/ADHD, but many people are reluctant to consider them for many reasons. To get a copy of my 25 page free report, visit Medication Mastery.