When Too Much Isn't Enough: Ending the Destructive Cycle of ADHD and Addictive Behavior

Overcoming the addictions that people with ADHD often overindulge in, from alcohol to gambling and more.

When Too Much Isn't Enough: Ending the Destructive Cycle of ADHD and Addictive Behavior

Acknowledging a behavior is the first step toward changing it.

Five Things That Break Bad Habits

1. Awareness of the problem. If you don't know you have a problem, there's no reason to change.

2. Willingness to change. Your behavior has to bother you so much that you're willing to do the work required to end it.

3. Appropriate tools. Get educated about ADHD and addiction. Look into the resources available from local organizations, the library, and the Internet.

4. Practice. Progress doesn't mean perfection. It means you are taking positive steps toward your goals.

5. Patience. Recovery is not a race. Don't worry about keeping up with another recovering "overindulger."

Adapted from When Too Much Isn't Enough.

by Wendy Richardson, M.A.
Pinon Press, $15.99
Purchase When Too Much Isn't Enough

Why do people with ADHD often overindulge in (or become addicted to) alcohol, gambling, or shopping? There is no simple explanation. When Too Much Isn't Enough explores the links between self-destructive behaviors and the symptoms of ADHD — impulsivity, memory problems, and inconsistent attentiveness.

This new book, by Wendy Richardson — a family therapist and addiction specialist in Soquel, California — also details many avenues for recovery. Richardson stresses the importance of a detailed diagnosis and individualized treatment from a professional who understands both ADHD and addictive behavior. She advocates an individualized combination of therapy, counseling, coaching, medication, and participation in a 12-step program. Willpower is seldom enough.

Acknowledging a behavior is the first step toward changing it, but people with ADHD are notoriously bad at self-monitoring.

A chapter titled "The Less-Talked-About Traits" points out how sensory sensitivity, sleep problems, and poor organizational skills make it hard for people with ADHD to manage their lives effectively. "It's Not Your Fault, But It Is Your Problem" adeptly explores the genetic and biological aspects of both ADHD and addiction.

Finally, the book's extensive endnotes and appendices detail the ADHD- and addiction-oriented resources now widely available. Overall, this book provides information and practical suggestions for people who know they have a problem with self-destructive behavior, as well as for those who aren't quite sure that they do.

What do you think of this article? Share your comments on www.ADDConnect.com, ADDitude's community site. Check out the new ADHD Medication User Reviews and the ADHD Adults Support Group. Your fellow ADDers want to hear from you!

 
Copyright © 1998 - 2013 New Hope Media LLC. All rights reserved. Your use of this site is governed by our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
ADDitude does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this web site is provided for educational purposes only. See additional information.
New Hope Media, 39 W. 37th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10018