Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is an outdated term for what is now called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We use the term ADHD throughout this page.
ADHD affects a person’s ability to pay attention and control their behavior. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder, which means it impacts the way the brain grows and develops.
ADHD is relatively common in children and teens—an estimated 5-10% of kids have it. While some kids will outgrow ADHD, around 60% will carry it into adulthood.
People with ADHD are at a higher risk for substance abuse and addiction. They may use substances like alcohol to relax or to calm ADHD symptoms like hyperactivity and restlessness.
What Are the Symptoms of ADHD?
Kids and teens with ADHD often squirm or fidget, and they tend to have a hard time sitting still. Some talk excessively or at inappropriate times. They may find it hard to take turns and have challenges getting along with others, among other symptoms.
As a person gets older, ADHD symptoms may change and often include:
- Frequently being late or forgetting things
- Trouble staying organized
- Losing things often
- Becoming easily frustrated
- Trouble controlling anger
- Often feeling bored
- Substance abuse and addiction
- Low self-esteem
- Problems at work
- Mood swings
Types of ADHD
You may notice that some of the symptoms of ADHD apply to you or your loved one, but not others. This may be explained by the fact that there are several types of ADHD:
- Inattentive: People with this type have a hard time organizing and finishing tasks, and they often become easily distracted. They may procrastinate or give up prematurely on tasks, and some have difficulty following instructions or conversations.
- Hyperactive-impulsive: People with this type usually fidget a lot and have a hard time sitting still. They may feel restless and struggle with impulsivity, and they may speak at inappropriate times. This can lead to problems at work and in relationships.
- Combined: Some people have symptoms of both the inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive types.
ADHD and Addiction
Studies have shown a strong connection between ADHD and substance abuse. Data show that one in four (25%) people being treated for alcohol and substance abuse have ADHD.
Teens with ADHD are more likely to start abusing alcohol than peers who don’t have ADHD. One study found that 40% of teens with ADHD started abusing alcohol around age 15, compared to just 22% of their non-ADHD peers.
Experts have also found links between ADHD and the use of marijuana and other recreational drugs. This link is even stronger when a person has other psychological disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder.
When to Get Help
If you’re struggling with addiction and ADHD, a specialized treatment program can help. It’s vital to address both conditions at the same time. This is commonly referred to as “dual diagnosis” by addiction specialists.
If you haven’t been officially diagnosed but have the hallmark signs of ADHD, see a doctor or mental health professional who is well-versed in the disorder. An accurate ADHD diagnosis is critical to getting the right care.
Why Choose Adelante Recovery Center
The experts at Adelante Recovery Center specialize in treating co-occurring disorders, including addiction and ADHD. Our interdisciplinary team of clinicians, therapists, and addiction specialists uses evidence-based treatment methods that combine modern and traditional therapies.
Treatment for ADHD and addiction may include a combination of talk therapy and medications to manage symptoms.
- Therapy: Treatments that focus on changing behavior, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), are especially helpful for people with ADHD. For this reason, individual counseling and group therapy form a core part of our residential inpatient program.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as Ritalin and Adderall are helpful for some people with ADHD. These drugs work by controlling hyperactive and impulsive behavior and improving attention span. In some cases, doctors may also prescribe an SSRI, a type of antidepressant drug that alters the reuptake of serotonin (a mood stabilizing chemical) in the brain.
If you are currently taking medications to manage ADHD symptoms, we will work with your doctor to coordinate care during substance abuse treatment.
If you’re struggling with addiction and ADHD symptoms, our team can help you regain control and focus. Get in touch today to learn more about our addiction and ADHD treatment program and to tour our Corona del Mar rehab center in Orange County.