Smoking and Teens with ADHD

Study finds that adolescents with ADHD may be at increased risk of smoking.

Tuesday December 4th - 10:30am

Studies have shown that individuals with ADHD are more likely to be heavy smokers and are less likely to quit successfully. There is also evidence that teens with ADHD are at a heightened risk to start smoking, possibly because they use cigarettes to regulate symptoms and emotions associated with their disorder.

A new report by Jean-G. Gehricke, Ph.D. and her colleagues at the University of California, Irvine suggests that susceptibility to smoking in individuals with ADHD may be due to specific brain functioning. The researchers contend that nicotine may "normalize" parts of the brain, which is why people with ADHD find quitting so difficult. However, therapeutic treatments and medication that act to "normalize" those same parts of the brain may help in preventing smoking behavior in at-risk teens and may also help ADHD smokers quit by weakening nicotine's reinforcing effects.

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