People develop a variety of mental health disorders. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and addiction are two that can occur together. To most people, however, these conditions don’t seem to have much in common. It may surprise them that a few factors link ADHD and addiction, but that treatment is available.

About Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Intake counselor talking to client about ADHD and addictionADHD is a neurological disorder that doctors typically diagnose in children. While it can go away for some kids as they get older, others may carry it into adulthood. However, some people can develop ADHD as adults.

The main signs of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. The inattention prevents people from staying focused, while hyperactivity makes them fidget excessively or exhibit restlessness. Their impulsive behavior involves taking action before thinking first, which can put them in harm’s way.

A few factors contribute to the risk that people have of developing ADHD. Research indicates that it can occur in children whose mothers used alcohol or tobacco during pregnancy. Exposure to lead can also cause hyperactivity.

Genetics are a common cause as well. It’s very likely for kids to have ADHD if another family member has it. Although uncommon, brain diseases, injuries, and tumors can lead to inattention and impulsiveness. In rare cases, stroke triggers these symptoms too.

The Link Between ADHD and Addiction

Many teens and adults with ADHD develop an addiction because the condition has a negative impact on their lives. ADHD lowers their performance at school and work, and it can hinder their social development.

Despite their intelligence, their lack of control over mental focus and behaviors increases their risk for drug use. The reason is that people with ADHD turn to alcohol and drugs to relax, slow down and fit in. They may also drink and use drugs to improve their emotions, moods and sleep patterns.

Continued drug use progresses to substance use disorder. Over time, people develop tolerance, dependence and then addiction. However, symptom relief isn’t the only link between ADHD and addiction.

People with ADHD also have lower dopamine levels than those who don’t have the condition. The brain naturally produces this chemical to regulate emotions, memory, movement, and other bodily functions. Most drugs stimulate dopamine production, which increases the amount of this chemical in the brain. However, prolonged drug use creates excessive levels for proper brain function, which causes ADHD and addiction together.

Similar to the development of ADHD, genetics contribute to the development of addiction too. When close relatives of people with ADHD have a substance use disorder, they’re also at risk for addiction. Genes that produce risk-taking traits also predispose them to both disorders.

Treatment for ADHD and Substance Use Disorder

The presence of ADHD and substance use disorder at the same time complicates the treatment process. However, dual diagnosis treatment centers in FL can help people in this situation. They can address both conditions in one treatment plan to prevent relapse.

For these conditions, dual diagnosis treatment starts with addressing ADHD. The reason is to reduce the symptoms that make people want to self-medicate. It can take a few weeks to ensure that the ADHD treatment goes well. The methods that treatment centers use include medications and therapy.

Next, treatment centers may introduce other medications to address the addiction. Meanwhile, addiction therapy continues to help people deal with the problems that caused addiction and vice versa. It also teaches them coping strategies to avoid triggers and relapse and to deal with normal life stressors.

Family therapy, group counseling, and cognitive behavioral therapy are evidence-based strategies that can treat both conditions. Holistic care is also helpful because it promotes relaxation and stress relief.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Beaches Recovery

Do you have problems with ADHD and addiction? Beaches Recovery has a range of experience treating co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD and other illnesses. At our facility in Jacksonville, Florida, we offer a full spectrum of care to help you truly heal.

One thing that sets Beaches Recovery apart from other facilities is separate rehab programs for men and women. Also, we take a whole-person approach to treatment. Because of that, our team uses evidence-based and holistic treatments, including:

Take the first step toward regaining control over your behavior and mental focus to overcome ADHD and addiction. Learn more about how Beaches Recovery can guide you through that process. Call 866.605.0532 today.