ADHD and Addiction: The Link

ADHD and Addiction

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, affects so many people around the world. This neurological disorder has symptoms such as impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity. Since ADHD can be difficult to navigate, some may fall into addiction, especially with substances like methamphetamines or alcohol. In this blog, we will look at the relationship between ADHD and addiction and answer questions like “Is alcohol an upper or a downer?” to help us explore how dopamine boosts using substances really affects ADHD. 

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Understanding ADHD and Its Challenges

ADHD at a Glance

ADHD affects adults and children alike and can create a massive impact on all areas of someone’s life. People with ADHD can often struggle to focus, organize themselves, handle impulse control, and suffer from issues surrounding executive functioning. This can make it hard to hold down jobs, go to school, or have healthy relationships. 

The Role of Dopamine

Dopamine is a big part of ADHD. It is the feel-good neurotransmitter that is dysregulated in people with this disorder. This leads to a host of symptoms that are difficult to manage alone. One of those symptoms you might see is a propensity to seek activities or substances that provide a boost to dopamine, which could be as simple as watching short videos for hours or as devastating as severe drug abuse. 

Methamphetamines, ADHD, and Addiction

Stimulants don’t have the same effect on those with ADHD as it does on others with a neurotypical brain. Drugs like Ritalin are a stimulant that can help those with ADHD feel calm and focused, providing great relief. Although illegal stimulant methamphetamine may provide short-term relief because of this, and might seem like a good idea in the moment. But they can actually lead to a cycle of abuse that makes ADHD so much harder to live with. 

Alcohol and ADHD

Is Alcohol an Upper or Downer?

Since symptoms of ADHD can be soothed with stimulants, you may wonder “Is alcohol an upper or a downer”. Alcohol is actually a depressant or a “downer” because it dappens brain activity, leading to the suppression of certain neurotransmitters. Alcohol and ADHD are, therefore, a more complex dynamic than stimulants in some ways.

Those with ADHD are at risk of developing alcoholism because of impulsivity issues that make it difficult to stay away from the substance. Alcohol also increases dopamine levels, giving relief to those with this neurological difference and leading to a cycle of abuse. 

Dopamine’s Role in Addiction for ADHD

Dopamine plays a massive role in addiction because when people take substances, like alcohol, they can increase the levels of dopamine in their brain. This leads to pleasure and, over time, will make the person reliant on that substance for their dopamine. Those with ADHD have a difficult time regulating dopamine in their brain, which can result in a catastrophic cycle of taking drugs to increase it. It’s important to always be aware of this propensity and avoid drugs and alcohol where possible as a result. 

Breaking the Link: Managing ADHD and Addiction

Seeking Professional Help

The first step towards managing ADHD and addiction is to reach out to professionals who will know what to do to break the cycle. If you or someone you know is struggling, reach out to a psychiatrist, therapist, or a sober living facility like Myrtle Beach Recovery in SC today. Treatment options are available and can bring much-needed relief. 

Support and Understanding

Those with addiction and ADHD need supportive people around them who understand the unique challenges they have to face on a day-to-day basis. 

Early Intervention is Key

It’s essential to watch out for substance abuse if you struggle with ADHD or know someone who does. Everyone around that individual needs to be aware of the risks and be ready to step in as soon as the signs manifest. Early diagnoses are key for both ADHD and addiction to ensure that person’s safety and quality of life. 

Conclusion: ADHD and Addiction

The link between ADHD and drug abuse is very complex, and there are many layers to pay attention to. The impulsivity, risk-taking behavior, and dopamine dysregulation that come with ADHD can increase the likelihood of addiction, which is why it’s important to implement early intervention, stay educated, get therapy, and seek support networks. One of these support networks could be a sober house like Myrtle Beach Recovery in South Carolina, which can help individuals who are suffering from addiction. To get help, you can contact us today.