ADHD and Addiction

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a condition that causes restlessness, difficulty focusing, and poor impulse control in children and adults.  Though there has been an increase in diagnosis and treatment in the last decade, there are still a great deal of people living with ADHD that go untreated. Many of these individuals turn to drugs or alcohol to manage their symptoms, often becoming addicted as a result.  Approximately 25% of those who enter treatment for addiction are also struggling with ADHD. In order to begin on the path to recovery, a person who believes they may be struggling with ADHD must seek treatment from professionals capable of providing a dual diagnosis.  

ADHD can negatively affect an individual’s social, professional, and home life.  In the case of teens and young adults, ADHD often presents as an inability to focus in class or efficiently study.  For some people who do seek treatment at a young age, prescription drugs like Ritalin and Adderall used to treat ADHD can lead to drug abuse.  This is an important factor when considering treatment for those that may be more inclined to addiction, but it should not be a deterrent from getting help.  Outcomes are consistency better for those that seek treatment for ADHD than those who attempt to self-medicate.

People with ADHD may have lower than average levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a large role in motivation and reward.  Alcohol and drugs can artificially increase dopamine production, which may be why people with ADHD are more likely to abuse substances.  Individuals with ADHD also tend to have overactive minds, and may use alcohol to slow down thinking, relieve stress, or focus on one task at a time.  If possible, early intervention is key in preventing worst-case-scenarios involving addiction and ADHD. With the right treatment, individuals who abuse substances in response to their symptoms can finally find balance and peace of mind.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and a co-occurring disorder, now is the time to reach out for help.  At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.