Understanding the Link Between ADHD and Substance Abuse

What is ADHD? ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. ADHD affects people of all ages, but it is most commonly diagnosed in childhood. Individuals with ADHD have a hard time focusing and completing tasks, and they are constantly moving. 

What is Substance Abuse? Substance abuse is a patterned use of a drug or alcohol in which users consume the substance in amounts or with methods that are harmful to themselves or others. In other words, it is the use of drugs or alcohol in a way that leads to health problems, addiction, or social problems. 

So, what is the connection? There is a growing body of research that suggests that there is a strong connection between ADHD and substance abuse. Based on how the disorders interact, they both feed off each other, perpetuating negative symptoms.

ADHD and Substance Abuse

ADHD is a mental condition that affects millions of people around the world. It shows up in children and usually doesn't go away. ADHD is one of the most common brain disorders in children and can continue in adolescence and even into adulthood. Some might know ADHD as ADD; these two have a lot of similarities, but they have a few differences. Over 9.4% of U.S. citizens have ADD. There are three types of ADHD: primarily inattentive, primarily impulsive, and combined inattentive and impulsive.

People diagnosed with ADHD are often at a higher risk of becoming addicts. Research shows that people with ADHD are more likely to get addicted to substances that may lead them to substance abuse problems because of their brain's reward system. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains several reasons that people diagnosed with ADHD may be more likely to become addicts, including that people with ADHD are more likely to start using substances at a young age and are more likely to develop an addiction to the substances they are using. The exact reasons why people with ADHD are more prone to substance abuse problems are not yet known. Still, researchers have developed several hypotheses explaining why they may be more at risk.

What Are The Risk Factors Of ADHD and Drug Use?

The challenges that confront those with ADHD create a climate for these individuals to be more prone to use drugs and alcohol. The impulsivity and inability to regulate emotions that come along with this disorder can lead to these impulsive choices. Additionally, distractibility and inattention can lead to feelings of incapacity and frustration, making them believe they need some type of mood or behavior-altering substances to feel better about themselves.

Moreover, the stigmatization from society and misunderstandings surrounding individuals with ADHD can lead to feelings of withdrawal and very low self-image; therefore, they turn to drugs and alcohol to get away from those feelings. In addition, organization and time management difficulties can lead to even more complications in their daily lives. They are not able to keep up with their responsibilities, which can make their temptation to use other substances higher.

Furthermore, the comorbidity prevalence of other disorders among individuals with ADHD, such as depression and anxiety, can also lead to the temptation to use drugs and alcohol. Each of these individual routes leads to the same destination. It is essential to be able to identify and intervene in individuals with the risk factors that are subject to committing to these substances.

Finding and treating substance abuse early in individuals with ADHD is significant. Specifically targeting interventions that treat both the symptoms of ADHD as well as treating their substance use disorders effectively. It is best to utilize methods to help the most influential individuals, such as behavioral therapies, individual counseling, and medication management. The most beneficial way to provide ADHD individuals who are abusing drugs or alcohol is to give them supportive environments that can advocate healthy lifestyles with easily obtainable resources for individuals who have both ADHD as well as a substance use disorder.

Getting Help for ADHD and Substance Abuse with The Bridge of Recovery

Our residential trauma treatment center provides intricate assistance for patients who have ADHD and are struggling with an addiction. Personalized treatment plans crafted through detailed therapy sessions and medication management support every patient. Treating both the neurological and psychological aspects, The Bridge to Recovery gives people the means to take charge of their symptoms and begin a lasting recovery journey. The team of practiced professionals furthers their grasp on ADHD and addiction by applying evidence-based practice and current-day research. By imploring cognitive-behavioral techniques and mindfulness strategies along with educational resources, patients leave this center with a loaded toolbox to tackle addiction and ADHD.

To recapitulate, the relationship between ADHD and substance abuse is very complex due to several factors. People diagnosed with ADHD have a greater chance of being drug or alcohol abusers. Recognizing the signs and symptoms is critical to early intervention. Treatment options are available. Please reach out and contact Kentucky mental health treatment center to discuss specific treatment options.