Can Nicotine Help My ADHD Husband Focus?

Q:

"My husband takes Ritalin for his ADHD. He also smokes. He claims that nicotine is a mild stimulant, and that he needs it to focus. Is this true? I’d like him to quit."

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).
A:

Nicotine is not a treatment for ADHD, so you shouldn’t accept this as an excuse for his smoking. Smoking is a real addiction -- to nicotine. If your attention deficit husband feels he needs something to supplement his Ritalin, perhaps his dose needs to be adjusted. You might encourage him to speak with his doctor about this.

The first step toward quitting smoking is for him to agree that he wants to stop. Once he makes this commitment, there are many products and services available that can help. Good luck -- not just for your sake but for his health.

Larry Silver, M.D., is the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities. He is also a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
 
 
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