ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, affects many individuals worldwide. In fact over 8 million adults in the US struggle with it. When coupled with alcohol addiction, a complex relationship emerges. On top of the many ways people with ADHD need to adjust and learn to thrive with the disorder, it’s also important to understand that there is a link between ADHD and alcohol addiction.
Today, we delve deep into this relationship, exploring how ADHD and alcohol are connected, the statistics supporting this linkage, and what this means for treatment and recovery.
A Primer on ADHD and Alcohol Addiction
For many, ADHD is a part of daily life. It’s the forgotten keys, the uncompleted task, the bubbling energy that can’t be contained. But for some, it’s also the first drink, the second, and the third, culminating in a cycle of addiction. The link between ADHD and alcohol is more evident than one might think.
Statistics show that adults with ADHD are three times more likely to develop a substance use disorder than people without ADHD. Specifically, attention deficit disorder and alcohol use disorder seem to have a particular connection, with 25% of adults with ADHD developing an alcohol use disorder.
Why Attention Deficit Disorder and Alcohol Resonate
But, why? Why is there such a sad connection between ADHD and alcohol abuse?
Self-medication is one of the first answers. Everyone has the ability and the propensity to self-medicate, but those with ADHD find a deep solace when they find something that alleviate the symptoms, or the emotional pain, associated with ADHD (even if it’s only temporary). The sense of restlessness or the stress of constantly being out-of-step with the world? For a fleeting moment, alcohol seems to smooth those wrinkles out.
Moreover, ADHD comes with compulsivity. This means individuals may often make hasty decisions. Binge drinking, drinking at a young age, over-indulging, all of these behaviors are impulsive, and each increases the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder at some point.
ADHD Meds and Alcohol
So now that we understand some of the propensity, we should get into a third aspect of ADHD and alcohol addiction: medications. ADHD meds and alcohol are both substances that can have significant effects on the central nervous system, and taken together can present several dangers.
Here are some specific dangers of mixing ADHD medications and alcohol:
- Amplified Effects
- Reduced Efficacy of Medication
- Impaired Judgment
- Increased Risk of Alcohol Poisoning
- Mental Health Effects
- Heart Risks
- Addiction and Dependence:
- Neurological Effects
- Gastrointestinal Issues
- Overdose Potential
ADHD and Alcohol: The Dual Challenge in Treatment
Treating someone for alcohol addiction is challenging. Add attention deficit disorder, and you’ve got a dual challenge. Traditional addiction treatments might not fully address the nuanced needs of someone with both ADHD and alcohol addiction.
People with ADHD often struggle with traditional recovery programs—the structure and pace just doesn’t fit with their processing style. If you’ve ever seen the genius work of those with ADHD when they’re passionate and engaged, you’ll know that the traditional one-size-fits-all approach is far from optimal. For the best results, a person with ADHD looking for an alcohol rehab should make sure the facility has a dual-diagnosis program. Otherwise they are risking an incomplete treatment approach.
ADHD and Alcohol: The Way Forward
But here’s the good news: with challenge comes opportunity. By tailoring addiction treatments to cater to the specific needs of those with ADHD, we can create a more inclusive and effective recovery environment. Integrating behavioral therapies that cater to the unique challenges posed by ADHD can make a significant difference. Also, considering the use of medications that specifically target ADHD is important.
Beyond all of this, educating patients, families, and professionals about the link between ADHD and alcohol can lead to early intervention.
A Final Word
It’s time to break the stigma and let people know that if you have ADHD and struggle with alcohol, it does not mean you are a moral failure. Do you have a choice and a part to play in your alcohol consumption? Absolutely. But you also have a few unseen obstacles that many others do not deal with. The bigger question is, “What will you do now?”
Getting Help With ADHD Alcoholism
If you or someone you know is navigating the challenges of substance abuse, it’s crucial to seek professional help. EagleCrest Recovery, based in Benton County, Arkansas, offers a specialized approach to alcohol and drug detox and dual diagnosis treatment. With a dedicated team of experts, we understand the complexities of addiction, especially when intertwined with other conditions like ADHD.
Don’t let the cycle continue. Reach out, take that vital step towards recovery, and embrace a life of clarity and purpose.
Call EagleCrest Recovery now at (844) 439-7627. Start today.