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ADHD and Addiction

Exploring The Connection Between ADHD and Addiction

Scott’s life didn’t really start to twist wild until he, at last, began to seek balance. He had been dependent on sexual entertainment for the majority of 10 years. He at long last admitted to his prospective lady of the prior hour they got hitched. Through his own determination, he had the option to keep up an all-inclusive time of restraint. In the years that followed there would be various backslides, however greater issues, for example, regular joblessness, hesitation, helpless time the executives, and trouble with meticulousness started crawling into his marriage.

It was not until Scott and his better half started marriage mentoring six years into their association that ADHD (consideration shortfall hyperactivity problem) would be analyzed.

Scott worked well during his time as a fanatic. It worked out that he was utilizing his dependence as a way of dealing with stress for ADHD. At the point when the enslavement was eliminated, so was his capacity to adapt to ADHD. His story isn’t exceptional. Numerous individuals today who experience the ill effects of enslavement additionally experience the ill effects of ADHD.

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes individuals to have bouts of hyperactivity that affect their everyday life. Colloquially, a lot of people refer to this disorder as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). However, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fifth Edition (DSM-5, DSM-V) recognizes the disorder as ADHD due to the significance of the inattentive part of the condition. As a result, ADHD has become a medically recognized term. Adolescents with ADHD often have difficulty combating boredom, sitting still, paying attention or controlling impulsive behaviour. People with adult ADHD may have poor communication skills, a tendency for distraction and procrastination, and difficulty managing complex projects.

In spite of the fact that no one knows precisely what causes ADHD, research shows that ADHD patients have lower levels of synapses like dopamine, a compound in the cerebrum that is delivered when something positive occurs. Subsequently, it tells somebody that what they have quite recently done or experienced is positive. This is likewise why those with ADHD can be at higher danger of medication misuse or abuse, since substances, for example, energizer medications, amphetamines and liquor give a solid flood of dopamine that the mind is deficient.

Signs and Indications of ADHD

It is essential to work with your medical services proficiently when diagnosing ADHD. The same number of signs and manifestations can be hard to recognize from normal conduct, particularly in kids and youths. The DSM-5 (DSM-V) portrays three unique introductions of ADHD side effects:

Predominantly Inattentive Presentation:

  • Difficulty with details or makes careless mistakes
  • Struggles with instructions
  • Difficulty with organization and prioritization
  • Loses things
  • Struggles to follow through with instructions
  • Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort
  • Easily distracted

Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation:

  • Fidgets or squirms
  • Difficulty engaging in activities quietly
  • Interrupts or intrudes on others
  • Impulsive behaviour
  • Difficulty remaining seated
  • Runs or climbs excessively, extreme restlessness in adults
  • Blurts out answers or excessive interruption
  • Difficulty waiting or taking turns

Combined Presentation:

  • Individuals with both child and adult ADHD can have varying degrees of overlap for both inattention and hyperactive-impulsive presentations

(Please note this list is not exhaustive, and you should always work with a trained medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.)

Scott always thought that those with ADHD had trouble sitting still or talking excessively. He did not suffer from these traits and never considered ADHD as a possible contributor to his addiction. His ADHD presented more in the predominantly inattentive category as he often struggled with completing tasks (jumping from task to task), poor memory, time management, and procrastination among others.


ADHD and Addiction

Around 25% of grown-ups that enter a treatment community for liquor or substance misuse likewise experience the ill effects of ADHD. ADHD is five to multiple times more normal among grown-up drunkards than it is in everybody. Studies additionally show that 14% of teenagers matured 15-17 with ADHD likewise experienced liquor misuse. Interruption, hastiness, carelessness, and weariness would all be able to be shared traits between ADHD and compulsion. Both ADHD and dependence can make even the most straightforward undertaking laborious. Things being what they are, the reason so numerous with ADHD additionally experience the ill effects of a reliance?

Dopamine Regulation

Dopamine is one of several neurotransmitters your body makes to send messages between nerve cells and to determine how we interact with the world around us. It plays a role in how the body feels pleasure, thinks and plans, strives, focuses, and finds things interesting. It is the body’s motivation reward center.

In essence, your body receives an input, your brain uses transporter cells to spread dopamine across four major pathways in the brain, your brain perceives it as good, and you feel joy and pleasure. ADHD and addiction both play a role in how the body interacts with dopamine. In those with ADHD, dopamine levels are often lower than those without ADHD, and the body’s nervous system is easily overloaded with incoming stimuli.

This can lead to typical traits of inattentiveness, fidgeting, impulsive behaviour, or extreme restlessness (as described above). For those suffering from addictions, elevated dopamine levels are often associated with the ‘high’ an addict feels after drug use or engagement in addictive behaviour. Those with untreated or unmedicated ADHD may turn to illegal drugs or other addictive behaviours, in spite of negative consequences or side effects, to raise the dopamine levels in their bodies.

Addiction as an ADHD Coping Mechanism

Addiction is regularly utilized as a method for dealing with stress for individuals who endure untreated ADHD since it has a quieting impact on the brain and body. Those with ADHD may utilize medications, liquor and nicotine, not to get high, yet to improve their chief capacity. ADHD meds, for example, Ritalin, Adderall, and atomoxetine animate the body’s creation of dopamine in a similar way cocaine does. Henceforth why those with undiscovered or untreated ADHD may go to substance maltreatment to give themselves the expanded dopamine levels that their body needs. The main contrast is that ADHD prescriptions raise dopamine levels (and different synapses, contingent upon the drug) significantly more gradually. They work over hours versus seconds.

adhd coping mechanism

Are ADHD Drugs Addictive?

Studies have indicated that energizer prescriptions are less inclined to be addictive in youngsters and grown-ups as long as they are regulated under the consideration of a medical services expert and the suggested measurements are followed. One examination followed 100 young men who took prescriptions for ADHD for a very long time. The investigation inferred that the young men had no more serious danger for substance misuse problems than the individuals who didn’t consume the medications. When an ADHD analysis has been affirmed, the prior energizer prescriptions, for example, Ritalin, atomoxetine and Adderall are begun, the lower the danger of substance misuse issues during adulthood.


Our genes shape who we are. They determine our hair color, eye color, and skin color. Additionally, they shape our personalities, traits, and interests among many other things. Genetically, if there is a family history of substance abuse or a psychiatric or mental health disorder (like ADHD), the risk of addiction increases. Research indicates that both conditions tend to run in families, and they may even stem from the same genes.

An individual with ADHD is four times more likely to have a relative who was also diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. Scott suspects that his father, a high-functioning alcoholic, has undiagnosed ADHD and used alcohol to self-medicate his symptoms. Additionally, NIDA scientists have found that genetic makeup can influence the probability that an individual may experience a substance use disorder (SUD) during adolescence or adulthood. When the genes for both ADHD and addiction are present it can prove to set the stage for a chemical or behavioural dependency.

Research is ongoing into the role our genes play in ADHD and addiction, but there are links that could contribute to a predisposition. However, an ADHD diagnosis is far from a guarantee of addiction, and the opposite is true as well.

Dual Diagnosis, Dual Treatment

On the off chance that you or a friend or family member has gotten the double analysis of ADHD and habit, it is suggested that a coordinated treatment plan that tends to the two problems be created. In youngsters or teenagers, legitimate ADHD findings at an early age can lessen the danger factors for future medication or liquor reliance. There are a few drug alternatives accessible, including energizer and non-energizer choices, notwithstanding an assortment of different instruments that can be utilized in recuperation, for example, psychological social treatment, way of life training, practice projects, and stress the board procedures, among others.

Each individual is novel in their hereditary cosmetics as is their recuperation. Now and again, the addictive conduct becomes unpleasant once the ADHD side effects are dealt with. In others, the compulsion ought to be overseen first before treatment of ADHD can start. It is essential to work intimately with your medical care expert or advisor, and possibly a recovery office, to guarantee that therapy progress is checked intently.

adhd side effects

Final Thoughts

While there is currently no cure for ADHD, the right treatment program and outlook on life can make it manageable. Many celebrities and athletes alike have struggled with ADHD including Howie Mandel, who has become an advocate for ADHD, OCD, and other comorbid conditions, as well as Justin Timberlake who has been diagnosed with OCD and ADHD. Athletes such as Michael Phelps, MLB pitcher Scott Eyre, and NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw all have confirmed ADHD diagnosis. Not only can ADHD and addiction be conquered, but any individual can go on to lead a successful and prosperous life. Recovery is always possible.

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