ADHD and Substance Abuse

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders, and affects both adults and children. Symptoms include inability to concentrate, difficulty finishing tasks, poor impulse control, and racing thoughts. This diagnosis is the source of a heated debate in the medical community, with many different opinions regarding the most effective forms of treatment. ADHD cannot be cured, but those affected are generally able to find relief through a combination of medication and therapy. Of the 6% of children diagnosed with ADHD, somewhere between 30% and 50% will report symptoms into adulthood.


Symptoms of ADHD are most commonly described as inability to focus, hyperactivity, and trouble controlling impulses. Although these symptoms may seem to describe your typical child or young adult, it is important to compare these behaviors to the norm when making a diagnosis. For example, what parent doesn’t complain that their child is hyper and doesn’t want to do their homework? These symptoms are greatly magnified in children with ADHD, and set them apart from their peers.

Children with ADHD often have trouble sitting still, are extremely restless, and have poor impulse control. They are infamous for starting one task, then moving on the next without finishing. This can result in a house covered in unfinished projects, frustrating spouses, siblings, and coworkers. ADHD is often found in conjunction with other disorders, including depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and insomnia.

Substances Providing Relief

Individuals suffering from ADHD are disproportionately prone to substance abuse. They often find relief for racing thoughts or hyperactive behavior in alcohol, marijuana, or opiates. These substance are soothing to someone who is always going at top speed, and this calming effect can foster a dependence on substances. Additionally, stimulants Addiction rehabilitation can be prescribed as a treatment for this disorder, which have the potential to be abused.


Northbound Treatment Service has years of experience working with dual diagnosis clients, and tailors a treatment plan specific to each client’s needs. Although one of the standard treatments of ADHD involves the use of medication, our professionals prefer to avoid medication unless absolutely necessary. We prefer to use cognitive behavioral therapy, teaching our clients helpful, successful strategies of combating their disorder and dealing with impulses. Our professionals at Northbound are intimately familiar in the most effective processes for treatment of co-occurring disorders, and have had much success with our holistic approach. That being said, we understand that in some cases medication is unavoidable, and will be prescribed along with continued, consistent monitoring from your psychiatrist.

If you have a friend or relative battling the combination of substance abuse and ADHD, then our professionals at Northbound Treatment Services can help you. Our medical professionals understand the crossover between addiction and mental health disorders, and create a treatment plan designed to address both the addiction and the underlying disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy and the acquisition of successful, healthy coping mechanisms will offer you a quality of life that you never thought possible.

Contact us today at (866) 538-4356or fill out the form on our website. We look forward to hearing from you soon.