Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition that involves a combination of tenacious symptoms, such as impulsive behavior, difficulty in paying attention and hyperactivity. ADHD in adults can lead to strenuous relationships, poor performance at work, inability to take responsibility and feeling of low self-esteem or self worth.

ADHD in adults usually starts in childhood, because childhood ADHD might go undiagnosed and the condition might continue till adulthood. However, in adult ADHD, symptoms might not be as prevalent as in childhood ADHD. In adults, restlessness, impulsiveness and difficulty in paying attention are some of the predominant signs.

Some of the common adult ADHD symptoms may include:

  • Disorganization and problems prioritizing
  • Impulsiveness
  • Problems focusing on a task
  • Poor time management skills
  • Trouble in multitasking
  • Difficulty in coping with stress
  • Excessive activity or restlessness
  • Poor planning
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Hot temper
  • Problems in completing tasks

Now, a new study says that approximately 50 percent of patients diagnosed with ADHD were also diagnosed with the co-occurring problem of substance abuse.

Norepinephrine and dopamine are two neurotransmitters that play a key role in people struggling with ADHD. These hormones are responsible in boosting happy mood and make an individual stress free. People struggling with disproportionate amount of these neurotransmitters struggle to uplift their mood. They experience overwhelming emotions and extreme sense of sadness and emptiness from within, for which they swerve towards drugs or alcohol to numb their emotional pain.

ADHD patients with a history of anxiety and depression are at a greater risk of substance abuse.

According to a new Canadian study which included 6,872 participants from Canada aged between 20 to 39 years evinced that people with ADHD, approximately 270 participants, were diagnosed with substance abuse disorder. The study also showed alcohol was the most commonly preferred intoxicant, followed by THC cannabis.

Nearly one in three adults grappling with ADHD was found to be intoxicated with alcohol in their lifetime. Moreover one in six adults battled with other illicit drugs, including heroin and cocaine, the study found.

ADHD is considered to be a result of malfunctioning activity in the brain’s frontal cortex, an area which influences behavioral control of body. This includes the ability of the brain to manage moods, time, ability to take decision, stay focused or stay motivated to complete any given work.

According to the author Esme Fuller-Thomson, who is known for her work published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism “People suffering with ADHD may be self-medicating with alcohol and drugs to numb their depression and this is surely a malicious recipe of disaster.” Esme Fuller-Thomson is a social work researcher at the University of Toronto. She is also the director of the Institute for Life Course and Aging. Her studies are underlined to cover the need for substantial interventions to treat substance use disorders among those with ADHD.

The study also suggests that due to hyperactivity, which is a predominant symptom of ADHD, sobriety may go for a toss within few weeks of treatment. Therefore, treatment targeting only substance abuse doesn’t seem to work with ADHD patients.

On the other hand, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medications along with substance abuse treatment are ideal for patients with ADHD and substance abuse disorder.

Need Help?

Dealing with ADHD and substance abuse at the same time can be a difficult situation for you and your family. When you suffer from any mental health condition or substance abuse disorder, you are not the only one to feel the pain. Your loved ones also undergo a lot of turmoil.

Therefore, it is advisable to seek treatment at the earliest and bring an end to this ordeal. We, at Invictus Health Group, focus on providing individualized treatment plans for patients dealing with mental health issues and substance use disorders. We provide evidence-based therapies, inpatient and outpatient treatment programs and substance abuse treatment programs.

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