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ADHD Increases Risk of Smoking Addiction

Young people with ADHD are at greater risk of becoming dependent on nicotine, according to new research.

Monday November 3rd - 1:09pm

A new study reveals that young people with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) are not only more likely to smoke at an early age, they're also at greater risk of becoming dependent on nicotine. The new study is from the Substance Abuse Program of Massachusetts General Hospital's Pediatric Psychopharmacology Department, and is published in the September issue of the Journal of Pediatrics.

The study showed that participants (ages 15 to 25) with ADHD began smoking an average of a year and a half sooner than participants without ADHD. In addition, 21 percent of ADHD participants showed moderate or high levels of nicotine dependence, compared to less than 1 percent of the non-ADHD group.

Study authors speculate that the same biological mechanisms that underlie ADHD are also behind nicotine dependence, particularly the connections between the dopamine system (related to ADHD and addiction) and the cholinergic system (related to smoking).

Because ADHD increases the risk of nicotine-addition, the study authors stress the importance of prevention efforts for adolescents with ADHD and their families.

Read more about the study in the Journal of Pediatrics.

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