Drug Rehab: The Link between Substance Abuse and Untreated Adult ADHD

It’s a lot easier to tell when a child may have ADHD. An adult, on the other hand, exhibits far less diagnosable symptoms. Thus, many adults suffer from ADHD and may not even be aware of it. According to Health.com, about 4% of adults have ADHD, and research suggests that 1-5% of adults with ADHD are oblivious of their condition or the fact that it’s affecting their everyday lives. Below are the signs that an adult may have ADHD:

Drug Rehab The Link between Substance Abuse and Untreated Adult ADHD

  • restlessness
  • tendency to procrastinate
  • prioritization problems
  • difficulty being organized
  • quick temper
  • relationship troubles
  • easily distracted
  • poor attention span
  • proneness to accidents

Notice that the above symptoms are generic by themselves rather than apparent indications of a distinct disorder. This explains why many general practitioners often link ADHD symptoms to more frequently diagnosed problems such as anxiety disorders, bipolar syndrome, depression, and typical negative lifestyle factors. In any case, ADHD largely remains untreated with the lack of (or incorrect) diagnosis.

How Untreated ADHD Leads to Substance Abuse

Adults with undiagnosed ADHD have a greater tendency to develop an addictive behavior than those who don’t have the disorder. Research suggests that substance abuse is often a manifestation of the need to self-medicate untreated symptoms. Alcohol and illegal drugs such as meth and cocaine affect the brain in a manner similar to medications like methylphenidate and amphetamine, which are usually prescribed to ADHD patients. For instance, while cocaine acts as stimulant for most people, the effect is opposite in adults with untreated, undiagnosed ADHD: enhancing their mood and helping them sleep better. It’s no surprise, therefore, why they tend to resort to these substances for temporary relief instead of approaching their local Riverside treatment center.

Integrative Treatment Necessary

ADHD treatment is very helpful in reducing the risk of an individual to abuse drugs and alcohol. However, hope is still not lost to those with ADHD and suffering from addiction at the same time. Since this is a dual diagnosis, treating addiction separately from ADHD won’t work. Untreated addiction exacerbates ADHD, and untreated ADHD will only result in recurring addiction. Accordingly, addiction therapy must be integrated to ADHD symptoms management for the treatment to work.

If you suspect that a loved one has ADHD and is into drug abuse, take him or her to a Riverside, CA drug rehab center, such as Ranch Creek Recovery, that provides holistic treatment for co-occurring disorders.

Sources:

Addiction and ADHD Adults, ADDitudeMag.com

15 Signs You May Have Adult ADHD, Health.com

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