Half of Young Adults With ADHD Report Lifetime Substance Use Disorder

(Psych Congress Network, September 1) Half of younger adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) report having experienced a substance use disorder in their lifetime, according to findings published in Alcohol and Alcoholism.

Controlling for a lifetime history of depression and anxiety, however, led to the largest attenuation of the link between ADHD and substance use disorders, researchers reported. Childhood adversities and socioeconomic factors also attenuated the ADHD-substance use disorder relationship.

“These results emphasize the importance of addressing depression and anxiety when providing care to those with co-occurring ADHD and substance use disorder,” said lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson, PhD, a professor at University of Toronto. “Individuals with untreated depression and anxiety may self-medicate to manage the symptoms of an untreated psychiatric disorder, which can result in greater substance use.”  Read more.