A recent study conducted by the Harvard Medical School investigated whether or not substance abuse had any relation to ADHD. The report, which was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, revealed that if an ADHD child was diagnosed with “Conduct Disorder”, the risk for abuse was increased markedly. An additional study from the University of Helsinki showed that ADHD symptoms predicted alcohol and drug abuse by age 14, particularly in girls.
Other Studies Show Similar Results
An additional study had similar findings. The Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD took 579 children and treated them with ADHD medications for a period of 14 months. They then periodically checked up on them and finally they were compared to their peers who did not have ADHD. The results showed that there was, in deed, a higher risk of substance abuse in those who had ADHD. ADHD is five to ten times more common among adult alcoholics than it is in people who do not suffer from ADHD.
Researchers have also found links between ADHD and the use of marijuana and other recreational drugs, particularly in people who also have other psychological disorders (such as obsessive-compulsive disorder). It was also found that people with ADHD usually start having problems with drugs and alcohol at an earlier age than people without the condition.
Early Intervention Is Key
Experts agree that early intervention for ADHD during childhood can greatly reduce the risk of substance abuse. These children are at a greater risk for developing substance abuse problems and their need for support should not be taken lightly. Further research showed that if the ADHD was not treated, they were more likely to relapse.
Researchers assure that ADHD medications did nothing to affect the risk for substance abuse. Although these medications appear to minimize ADHD symptoms in over 80 percent of those diagnosed with it, many believe that they may set the child up for addiction problems in the future. Drugs used to treat ADHD such as Ritalin and Aderall can be very dangerous if abused and do, in fact have a high level of addiction potential. These particular types of drugs contain chemicals that stimulate your body, which means they will raise your heartbeat. Because stimulants are often abused at parties, there is often alcohol involved, which can increase the danger of these drugs markedly.
Typical side effects as a result of abusing stimulants include irregular heartbeat, extremely high blood pressure, seizures, tremors, difficulty breathing and mood disorders. Even more terrifying are the effects of repeated use of high doses, which could result in confusion, hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia, stoke and even death.
Though not all abusers use stimulants as means of partying, that doesn’t mean they pose any less of a danger. Researchers also believe that there may be a connection with impulsive behaviors often displayed by those diagnosed with ADHD. Other factors may include trouble making healthy friendships and how they perform in school.
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