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ADHD and Alcohol Abuse

ADHD and Alcohol Abuse

The correlation between ADHD and alcohol abuse is commonly found in individuals suffering from this disorder. This, however, does not mean that every individual living with ADHD has an alcohol abuse problem. Yet, in the case that they are struggling with alcohol abuse, it will make ADHD symptoms worse, and vice versa. 

What is ADHD

According to the NIH, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a childhood mental health disorder that is characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Before receiving the name ADHD psychiatric literature named this disorder minimal brain dysfunction, hyperkinetic reaction of childhood, and attention deficit disorder.

ADHD is a disorder that results from a less-active frontal lobe of the brain. This theory helps explain the symptoms caused by ADHD because the frontal lobe is responsible for the following functions:

  • Thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Attention
  • Memory
  • Organization 

Although ADHD is a childhood mental health disorder, the majority of individuals diagnosed as a child continue to experience and suffer from related issues as an adolescent and adults. The recognition that ADHD can extend throughout the entirety of a person’s life has expanded the research of ADHD and new areas of concern. For example, the link between ADHD and alcohol abuse.  

Determining if ADHD Causes Alcoholism

To determine if ADHD causes alcohol-related issues, three minimum conditions must be met simultaneously. Below are only the three minimum conditions for determining causation. There are other conditions that can corroborate these findings, however, the three minimum conditions are:

  • The cause, being ADHD, must occur before the effect, which is alcohol consumption. 
  • Correlation of ADHD and alcohol abuse must be precedent. There also needs to be a large enough concern to mandate regard from a theoretical or applied perspective.
  • ADHD must be a distinctive cause of alcohol-related issues, independent of other possible causes.

The Effects Of Alcohol And ADHD

Alcohol is a depressant that lowers neurotransmission levels, which reduce arousal or stimulation in different areas of the brain. Many people drink alcohol to help them relax and slow down the brain. Individuals living with ADHD use alcohol and other depressants to help calm down the hyperactivity. However, alcohol can have the opposite effect. 

Alcohol and ADHD have similar effects on the body. In both cases, the frontal lobe of the brain is affected, causing the inability to think clearly. When partnering alcohol with ADHD it can cause an individual to go into a more dangerous state of mental health-associated issues.

Furthermore, when taking ADHD medication like Adderall or Concerta with alcohol, this cocktail raises the possibility of alcohol poisoning, reducing the effectiveness of the medication, developing polysubstance abuse, or overdose. 

Take Control of the Issue

Living with a mental illness is already hard enough to manage at times. The threat of substance abuse is always precedent, however, there are ways to control the urge or receive help before the abuse spirals out of control. The Harm Reduction Center in South Florida offers both addiction treatment plans, as well as mental health services. 

HARC is a private healthcare facility that creates treatment plans tailored to each individual’s needs rather than creating a one size fits all treatment structure. Our goal as a provider is to empower and support each client’s recovery. We don’t stop once they finish treatment, we support each and every client with aftercare programs and support groups throughout the rest of their journey of life.

If you are ready to make the first step towards freedom, contact us today!