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.

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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.”

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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.

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1 Comments & Reviews

  1. I have struggled with addiction for at least half of my life, my doc has always been methamphetamine. It was not until i was diagnosed with adhd and put on medication called mixed amphetamine salts did that need or craving to use meth go away. What a life changer that little pill did for me. I went from just existing in life to a productive member of society who started my own business that was sucessful. I was treated with those meds close to 8 years, then that dark day came back when my meds were changed. Pharmacies told me that the old generic i was using now no longer existed and had to use the dextro/amphetamine. Those meds gave me horrible side-effects and didnt work. This in turn started my meth addiction back up. The meth actually made most of the side effects of the medication become tolerable and some went away, so in my mind they worked great together. I told my doc what i was doing and that got my scripts taken. I was told i need treatment etc….Fast forward several months with out my meds I only have 2 out of 15 accounts left and now am using more meth than i have ever used on a daily basis due to the fact i have 0 impulse control. I am very angry with a lot of things stemming from the med change. Each night before i go to bed i pray that i dont wake up in the morning so i dont have to replay the same broken record of never accomplishing a single task,constantly looking for what i just had in my hand in a home that i am so disgusted with seeing all the mess and piles of crap i dont know what to do with. I know what my life was like before my diagnosis and what it became after. I feel that i was forced to to go back to the before diagnosis life, actually its worse than that, as before idk i had anything wrong with me, now i do. So now what? Do u have any suggestions for me? Im lost,i can rarely put a thought together and no impulse control, soon i will be homeless if i cant figure this all out. Thank u for reading this if u made it this far.

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