ADHD and Increased Risk for Substance Abuse

ADHD and Increased Risk for Substance Abuse
Fact or fiction?

Read More:

Research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry reports that children with ADHD may be at significant risk for later substance abuse.

More than 600 children were followed over eight years. Those children diagnosed with ADHD at baseline (average of 8.5 years), had significantly higher rates of substance regardless of their sex 6 to 8 years later compared with their age-matched peers who did not have ADHD.

“Medication for ADHD did not protect from, or contribute to, visible risk of substance use or SUD by adolescence,” write the investigators.

“We Need to Do Better…However, similar to managing high blood pressure or obesity, there are nonmedical things we can do to decrease the risk of a bad outcome,” said Dr. Molina, one of the study’s authors.

“As researchers and practitioners, we need to do a better job of helping parents and schools address these risk factors that are so common for children with ADHD.

This echoes previous research by doctors Robert Whelan and Hugh Garavan of the University of Vermont and a cohort of international researchers.

Their report published in the journal Nature Neuroscience (online April 29, 2012) helps answer whether particular brain patterns are caused by drug use or established before drug use. Professors Whelan and Garavan found that certain networks in some teenagers cause a higher risk for experimentation with drugs and alcohol – simply because their brains are wired differently making the teens more impulsive.

A teenager exposed to peer pressure regarding smoking a joint or drinking alcohol, provided parental boundaries and structure have been set, would refuse the offer whild the teenager with lesser orbitofrontal control would likely say, “Yeah, gimme, gimme, gimme!” says Garavan, “and this other kid is saying, ‘no, I’m not going to do that.'”