October is ADHD Awareness Month. The aim of this month is to educate the public about the condition by spreading reliable and accurate information.
Some of the symptoms of ADHD are trouble focusing, forgetfulness about completing tasks, distraction, and difficulty sitting still. However, these are highly variable by person and can change over time.
While ADHD is often seen as primarily impacting kids, it affects both children and adults. 60% of people who grow up with ADHD struggle with it as adults too. Typically, symptoms manifest between the ages of 3 and 6, but some people are not diagnosed until they are adults. Getting this diagnosis late can stir up a lot of emotions; it can sometimes explain things that a person has struggled with much of their life.
Those with ADHD are also more likely to struggle with addiction. ADHD is five to ten times more common in people with alcohol use disorder than in the general population. One study followed kids over a 10-year period and found that ADHD was a significant predictor of substance use disorders.
Sam Dylan Finch, a mental health advocate who is in recovery and has ADHD, says of his substance use before getting sober, “I wanted to slow myself down, cope with the unbearable boredom, and try to take the edge off of my reactive and tense emotions.”
Researchers have also found that dopamine levels tend to be different in people with ADHD than in people without it. Those with addiction are more likely to have lower dopamine receptors, too. As this neurotransmitter is involved in reward and motivation, it plays a large role in addiction.
Treatment for addiction and ADHD should take into account both conditions, just like with any co-occurring disorder. As Finch said, “For me, there’s no recovery from substance abuse without treatment for my ADHD.” With adequate information to make informed decisions, recovery—and a great life—is possible.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you build a great life in recovery. To learn more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.