What is the link between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and substance use disorders?

Many adults with ADHD struggle with addictive behaviors that are often unrecognized and untreated. People with ADHD have an increased risk of alcohol or substance misuse as a way to self-treat or self-medicate, undiagnosed or undertreated symptoms of ADHD, such as impulsivity or lack of focus. According to Medical News Today, Substance use disorders are twice as high among individuals with ADHD and four times as high among those with ADHD and conduct disorder.

What are the indicators of addiction?

Those struggling with ADHD often seek out immediately gratifying experiences, and addictive behaviors provide a jolt of dopamine that is very satisfying for the brain’s reward circuitry. Some indicators of addiction are:

  • Urgent cravings for a substance or behavior.

These might include physical cravings (substance use), emotional cravings, or both.

  • Continued behavior despite negative consequences.

Many individuals are aware of the problems that are caused by their addictive behavior but will continue them anyway.

  • Lack of Control

Those struggling may lose the ability to control their consumption even though they have the desire to stop.

It is important to note that children who receive ADHD treatment at a younger age are less likely to develop substance use disorders than those who start treatment later. Although the link between ADHD and addiction can be complex, individuals struggling with both conditions should know the signs to look out for and treatment options. Furthermore, parents should discuss their children’s behaviors with their pediatrician to explore medical interventions that may help alleviate the symptoms of concern.

How is Addiction Treated in People with ADHD?

Stimulants are a common treatment for individuals diagnosed with ADHD but are less clear for those struggling with addiction. Individual or group therapy and 12-step support groups can also be an important part of the substance abuse program for people with ADHD.

Illinois Healing Center for Trauma and Addiction offers group therapy for those who have been on the recovery journey or have just begun. Explore the newly discovered emotions being experienced now that you are clean and sober while continuing to build your sober network. Visit our website for more information.


Illinois Healing Center for Trauma and Addiction is Here for You

If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health, our compassionate therapists are here to help. We offer an array of specialized individual therapy services including drugs and alcohol addiction, sex addiction, and more.

Learn more about our services at www.ilhealingcenter.com/services/ or call us at 773.570.0770 to schedule an appointment.