ADHD and Substance Abuse Term Paper by Nicky

A look at the connection between ADHD and substance abuse.
# 145918 | 1,536 words | 5 sources | APA | 2010 | US

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This paper considers a possible link between ADHD and substance abuse through a review of literature on this subject. The paper describes the incidence of drug abuse among adults, noting that there may be co-morbidity with ADHD. Various studies are cited to support this thesis. Next, the paper examines a potential relationship between psychiatric medication for childhood ADHD and later adult substance abuse. The studies presented here show differing results. The paper concludes by calling for more studies on the ADHD-substance abuse connection in order to better understand how these different elements come together.

From the Paper:

"Treatment for individuals with both ADHD and substance abuse is one of the areas of main concern, especially since, as is known now, ADHD continues into adolescence, young adulthood and adulthood, when substance abuse has the greatest impact. According to Kolpe and Carlson (2007) from the Departments of Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, although there are no epidemiologic studies on ADHD in adults, using studies from childhood and adolescent ADHD, it is estimated that somewhere between .3percent and 2 percent of adults as a whole may possibly have ADHD. These figures are very different when looking at the co-morbidity of substance abuse and ADHD. Studies report that 30 percent adult outpatients with ADHD have a substance abuse disorder, 34 percent have alcoholism, 15 to 35 percent in cocaine abusers and 24 percent in mixed use substance abuse users. However, say these authors (Kolpe & Carlson, 2007), the amount of studies on individuals with ADHD and substance abuse and treatment (e.g. methadone) are few. Due to this scarcity of studies, a review of methadone treatment records was conducted to determine the rate of current ADHD symptoms and its influence on treatment outcome."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Faraone. S.V., Wilens, T.E., Petty, C., Antshel, K. Spenser, T., Biederman, J. Kolpe, M. & Carlson, G.A. (2007) Substance Use among ADHD Adults: Implications of Late Onset and Subthreshold Diagnoses. The American Journal on Addictions, 16: 24-34,
  • Kolpe, M. & Carlson, G.A., (2007) Influence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms on methadone treatment outcome. American Journal of Addiction. 16(1): 46-48
  • Mariani, J. & Levin, F. (2007) Treatment strategies for co-occurring ADHD and substance use disorders. American Journal on Addictions 16(1): 45-56
  • Wilens , T.E., Vitulano, M., Upadhyaya H, Adamson J, Parcell T, Westerberg D, & Biederman J. Concordance between cigarette smoking and the modified Fagerstrom Tolerance Questionnaire in controlled studies of ADHD. American Journal of Addictions. 17(6): 491-6
  • Wilson, J. (2007) 2007. ADHD and Substance Use Disorders: Developmental Aspects and the Impact of Stimulant Treatment American Journal on Addictions, 16, 5-11.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

ADHD and Substance Abuse (2010, December 07) Retrieved September 25, 2023, from

MLA Format

"ADHD and Substance Abuse" 07 December 2010. Web. 25 September. 2023. <>