While it is true that certain drugs used to treat ADHD can be addictive and subject to abuse, there is also evidence that they can be beneficial. Not only do these drugs provide help for people suffering from ADHD but a recent study also indicates that these meds could lower the risk of substance abuse in teens and adults. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, you have options for care at a Florida drug rehab.

ADHD, Its Challenges, and Addiction

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder occurs in approximately 11 percent of school-aged children and about three-quarters will continue with symptoms into adulthood. The disorder is characterized by higher levels of impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity. A percentage of the people who suffer from ADHD either are undiagnosed or untreated, which could lead them to self-medicate with addictive substances.

While some of the drugs used to treat ADHD, such as Adderall and Ritalin, are subject to abuse, they are helpful when used under tight medical supervision. These stimulant drugs have become popular drugs of abuse on college campuses by students who are trying to cope with heavy workloads. Yet, people who need the drugs to treat ADHD and who have medical management in place could face a lower risk of addiction.

New Study Indicates ADHD Meds Could Lower Addiction Risk

recent study completed by researchers at Indiana University finds a link between using drugs to treat ADHD and a lower risk for substance abuse among teens and adults. The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, is based on healthcare data from nearly 3 million people in the U.S. with ADHD.

Specifically, the study reviewed anonymous healthcare records data of 146 million people who had employer-based health insurance in the U.S. over a decade. It identified people with ADHD including those who took ADHD medication and those who did not.

Among people with ADHD, there was a higher chance of an emergency room visit related to substance abuse during periods where a person was not taking ADHD medication. Among men who were taking ADHD medication, there was a 35 percent lower risk of addiction than those not on the meds. Among women taking the ADHD meds, the risk of addiction was 31 percent lower.

Other Studies Related to ADHD Meds and Addiction

This was not the first study to recognize this type of benefit related to these medications. In 2014, a Swedish study was released which produced similar findings. That study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, reviewed the health care records of over 38,700 citizens born between 1960 and 1998. The study concluded that using ADHD medication did not increase the risk of addiction and, that patients who had a longer course and higher compliance with treatment would have a lower risk of substance abuse.

There are many factors that can influence whether a person first decides to use drugs or alcohol and then abuses substances. Being treated for ADHD under the care of a physician does not necessarily increase the risk for substance abuse even though the drugs themselves are classified as controlled substances.

Whether you have been self-medicating for ADHD or otherwise find that you are unable to stop drinking or using drugs, there is help available. At The Orlando Recovery Center, we offer comprehensive addiction treatment options at our Florida drug rehab. If you have ADHD, you can also receive treatment for co-occurring disorders. Contact us now to learn more about admissions to one of our caring and compassionate programs.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.