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How to Treat a Teen Self-Medicating ADHD and Anxiety with Marijuana

Teens, particularly those with undiagnosed ADHD and related conditions, are susceptible to substance abuse. When a child is self-medicating with marijuana, how can professionals and caregivers best adjust his or her treatment plan accordingly? Find out here.

1 Comment: How to Treat a Teen Self-Medicating ADHD and Anxiety with Marijuana

  1. Tim Wilens, MD is no doubt the guru on SUD/ADHD in adolescents.
    On patients 18 – late 20s, it depends on what substance they are abusing. MJ alone is not easy, especially with many new State laws.
    I try to let the patient know that I’m their advocate; not the Dr that’s going to penalize them. Understand WHY they are using MJ. Anxiety, sleep, etc. Work with alternatives.
    I agree with Dr Wilens on
    1. Long acting stimulants for combined type ADHD.
    2. TCAs, prefer Nortriptyline (less side effects vs amitriptyline)
    3. I prefer the SSRI, lexapro vs zoloft, prozac, paxil. Seems to have least side effects, and I start soooooo slow: 2-3wks at 1/2 the 5mg, 2-4wks whole 5mg, then 10mg.
    4. Gabapentin still is great for ADHD anxiety and sleep, in low doses the first 3 months until the Lexapro is titrated up.
    I learned that from Wilens in 2008.
    5. The TCA is also great for sleep.
    Future?
    CBD, once FDA approved is what really helps with anxiety, and allows less stimulant (pending some studies). It has NOT been proven to treat ADHD, however.

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