The impact of drug and alcohol abuse is often overlooked when it comes to inherent and genetic disorders. Children that are diagnosed with ADHD usually suffer from this disorder throughout their lives. Studies have revealed that adults with ADHD are more likely to develop a drug and alcohol problem. As opposed to people without this condition, studies have shown that those with ADHD are far more prone to alcohol and substance abuse, and those being treated average around 25 percent. Teenagers with ADHD are also prone to abusing alcohol during their early teens.
A recent study on drug and alcohol abuse, revealed that teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 (14%) with ADHD already presented with dependency and alcohol related problems as opposed to their peers. Young adults with ADHD also showed a tendency to abuse alcohol and other chemical substances excessively. Researchers have also discovered a link between the use of recreational drugs and marijuana in people suffering from OCD, ADHD and people with other psychological disorders. A common gene has been discovered that is shared between alcoholism and ADHD.
People with ADHD are usually treated with stimulant drugs such as Ritalin which raise dopamine levels in the brain and in turn improve attention and focus. Dopamine creates a high and feeling of pleasure which is what makes a person with ADHD want more. Substances such as cocaine, heroin and other street drugs raise dopamine levels and may present similar effects as the stimulants used to treat ADHD. In fact Ritalin has been termed as the poor mans cocaine.
Many addicts use Ritalin by crushing the tablets and snorting them or taking the drug IV. Ritalin is not addictive when taken correctly. However, when taken in large doses for ADHD the drug has similar effects to that of cocaine. One of the major factors that lead to addiction is how quickly certain drugs lead to raised dopamine levels.
The faster the levels of dopamine go up, the more potential there is for drug and alcohol abuse. Stimulants such as Ritalin used to treat ADHD are long acting and reduce the risk of addiction if the right doses are taken as prescribed. However, if abused, users will start experimenting with street drugs in order to raise their dopamine levels in the brain to feel good.