ADDitude ADHD Experts Podcast

Podcast Episode #242: “ADHD and Substance Use Disorders: How to Recognize and Manage Addiction”

Tune in to hear as Timothy Wilens, M.D., explores the link between adults with a lifetime history of substance abuse disorder (SUD) and ADHD, outlines best treatments for managing an SUD, and discusses how to reduce the risk.

Hand holding a paper sheet with no alcohol sign over a crowded street background. Stop to drink symbol prohibited icon. Refuse to be dependent.
Hand holding a paper sheet with no alcohol sign over a crowded street background. Stop to drink symbol prohibited icon. Refuse to be dependent.

Listen to “ADHD and Substance Use Disorders: How to Recognize and Manage Addiction” with Timothy Wilens, M.D.

Click the play button below to listen in your browser. Mobile users can open this episode in: Apple Podcasts; Google Podcasts; Stitcher; Spotify; Overcast.

Click here to view the original webinar broadcast and accompanying slides.

Add ADDitude’s ADHD Experts Podcast to your podcasts app: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Google Play | Pocket Casts | Overcast | Stitcher


Many experts believe that ADHD is a risk factor for substance abuse disorder (SUD). An estimated 15 and 25 percent of adults with a lifetime history of SUD also have ADHD. So how is SUD linked to ADHD? The short answer is we aren’t sure.

The longer answer is that a variety of factors play a role in the connection — everything from genetics to the dopamine receptors in the ADHD brain. One thing we do know is that ADHD is also associated with a higher risk of smoking at an earlier age and that smokers with ADHD are less likely to break the habit. Understanding the high correlation between ADHD and SUDs, as well as the catastrophic effects SUDs have on an individual and family, are key in helping doctors prevent addiction in individuals with attention deficit.

Listener testimonials:

  • “Incredible information. I guess it is mostly aimed at professionals. I’d like to hear the same presentation made for parents. Summaries and overall descriptions were super-helpful. For us ‘earth mothers’ who have resisted medications, this is truly eye-opening, and will cause some soul-searching.”
  • “This was helpful. The slides are a little technical for the average person. While they were summarized well, they were hard to follow for someone who has not looked at such technical graphs since college.”
  • “Excellent informative seminar! Doctor’s research very good and helpful. Moderator’s questions and follow up questions very concise.”

Related recommended resources:

This ADHD Experts webinar was first broadcast live on January 15, 2019. ADDitude thanks our sponsors for supporting our webinars. Sponsorship has no influence on speaker selection or webinar content.

Note on audio quality: This podcast is a recording of a webinar series. The audio has been captured from live conversations (sometimes over a telephone), not recorded in a studio. Register to participate in the live webinars at: additude.com/webinars/


Get notified when ADDitude publishes new podcasts!

* indicates required