If you’re taking ADHD medication, discuss with your healthcare provider whether alcohol consumption is safe to avoid potential complications. For many people with ADHD, intense emotions such as anger, anxiety, or stress can lead to alcohol misuse. It’s not uncommon to use alcohol to cope with social awkwardness or binge drink if struggling with restless and hyperactive thoughts.

  1. Some studies suggest that hyperactivity and poor impulse control are elevated when people are diagnosed with both ADHD and a conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).
  2. Alcohol may affect the symptoms of ADHD, but more research is necessary.
  3. There is also some evidence that naltrexone can help with managing ADHD hyperactive symptoms and reduce side effects of ADHD medications like methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine.
  4. It is important to get adequate amounts of sleep for your overall health.

The higher prevalence rates of AUD and DUD in men compared to women are in accordance with gender differences in the general population[37-40]. In line with others, we found that women reported higher levels of hyperactivity-impulsivity[50] choosing an alcohol rehab treatment program and ED[51] compared with men. ADHD was assessed using DIVA 2.0, the semi-structured Diagnostic Interview for Adult ADHD, second edition[28], which was performed by a psychiatrist for all patients included in the study.

ADHD and Alcohol: The Risks of Drinking With This Disorder

In contrast, the 12-mo prevalence of DUD was considerably higher than the United States (3.9%)[40] and European (3.0%) estimated prevalences of DUD in the general population[38]. Understanding why teens with ADHD are at greater risk for turning to alcohol is key to parents being able to help them if they do end up drinking — and if they end up with alcohol and seizures can drinking cause epilepsy or convulsionsism. Even in the short term, liquor has a detrimental effect on teens with ADHD. This is partly because many people with this disorder already have delays in memory and processing speed. Alcohol worsens these ADHD symptoms, resulting in possible memory issues and difficulty focusing.

According to a 2017 article, people with ADHD have high levels of impulsive and sensation-seeking behavior, which may increase the risk of alcohol misuse. The use of stimulants with alcohol may lead to more high risk behavior, though, which may increase the risk of the harmful effects of heavy drinking. When alcohol and stimulant medications are combined, this increases the risk of alcohol poisoning and overdose. If you use both substances over a long period of time, you may increase your risk of a cardiac event, such as heart attack and stroke. On the other hand, some non-stimulant medications used to treat ADHD, such as atomoxetine, may have less interaction with alcohol.

All content published within Cureus is intended only for educational, research and reference purposes. Additionally, articles published within Cureus should not be deemed a suitable substitute for the advice of a qualified health care professional. Do not disregard or avoid professional medical advice due to content published within Cureus.

Diagnostic Criteria for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

There may be a link between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and substance use disorders. Dr. Johnson says that properly taking prescribed medication helps reduce the risk of substance use issues. Some general steps that people with ADHD can take to reduce their risk of addiction include taking ADHD medication as prescribed, exercising regularly, and having continual behavioral health checkups during treatment.

Are Drug Abuse and Alcoholism More Common Among People With ADHD?

It’s helpful to first understand why people who have the disorder may turn to drinking. Cabulagan noted that research has indicated that those who have ADHD use the neurotransmitter dopamine faster than those who don’t. Dopamine provides brains with a sense of pleasure, so having a shortage of it may motivate people with ADHD to seek pleasurable sensations from other sources. The good news is, there are many treatment options to support alcohol recovery for individuals with ADHD. In addition to alcohol’s cognitive impact on people with ADHD, alcohol can also interact with ADHD medications.

Is There a Link Between ADHD and Excessive Drinking?

It can be hard to distinguish the 2, especially if the afflicted has suffered from both for years, but with proper therapy and an open counselor, the individual should be able to get down to the root of their problem. People should speak with their doctor if they have difficulties controlling their substance use. A doctor can recommend treatment or refer the individual to a specialist service. Experts can now treat substance use disorders successfully with low recurrence rates, and with comprehensive and continuous care, recovery is possible. People with ADHD tend to be more impulsive and likely to have behavior problems, both of which can contribute to drug and alcohol abuse, researchers say.

For teens who use ADHD medications such as Ritalin or Adderall, the risk of alcoholism increases. These prescription drugs are stimulants, while alcohol is a depressant. Thus, mixing Adderall or Ritalin with alcohol can seemingly offset the depressant effects of liquor, making teens believe they can drink more. As teenagers begin drinking on a regular basis or become unable to control how much they drink, ADHD and alcoholism become two very real challenges they must address.

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