If you have a struggle with addiction, you might also struggle with mental health conditions. Some people have a challenge dealing with ADHD, a condition that causes decreased concentration, hyperactivity, and may have ramifications for the rest of their lives. Combined with addiction, it can be a devastating combination. To deal with treating both, it may take a combination of treatment, therapies, and medication. Find out ways to deal in a healthy way with these diagnoses and thrive in recovery.

What Happens with ADHD

Some people with ADHD turn to alcohol or other substances to cope with the symptoms of the condition. Others simply find it appealing and not easy to quit once they start. Addiction can take hold of anyone’s life, especially those with ADHD symptoms. Abuse of substances is not about how much a person does or how often they do it, it is really about the impact on the other areas of their life. When difficulties arise, a problem can persist.

For some young people with ADHD, they may use substances to improve sleep, boost their mood, or to get high. Self-medicating is not uncommon for people with ADHD as it sometimes goes mis- or undiagnosed. Hyperactivity may subside a little over time as the person ages but the brain still struggles to function and slow down. They may struggle to calm their brain enough to feel productive and get things done.

Consequences of Substance Use

When someone with ADHD uses substances to calm their brains, they may experience impulsive behavior, poor judgment, and socially awkward behavior that comes with ADHD. As a teen, when everything is about fitting in and finding friends, it can be devastating to feel misunderstood, even left out, and not able to make friends easily.

Compared to people without the disorder, people with ADHD are often less successful academically and fewer get the jobs they want or graduate from college because they struggle with the symptoms of concentration and impulsivity. SUbstance use compounds these behaviors and creates even greater distress in their lives.

Healthy Tools

To thrive with ADHD and substance use, a person needs to seek treatment that focuses on dual diagnosis. This will help them get the best treatment available. The same treatments that are effective for ending substance use can work in people with ADHD. Some 12-step programs are helpful. A clear, stable mind is also very important to focus and interact with others in a healthy way.

Therapy is very good for this reason, but so is the right medication for some people. Staying sober and off substances will help a person focus on their treatment of ADHD, be in healthy recovery, and learn tools to deal with impulsive behavior and racing thoughts. It helps to learn the management of emotions, avoiding hunger, limiting caffeine and sugar, and staying socially connected. Isolation can make things more difficult. A well-established plan can help be a powerful tool to prevent relapse.

Alta Loma focuses on dual diagnosis to help you identify where you struggle with ADD, ADHD, or other mental health conditions and substance use. If you are having trouble focusing, connecting with others, and feel your substance use is out of control, we can do an assessment to help you learn how to thrive in recovery. Our professionals will help treat your underlying conditions and addiction so you can get back to doing what you love. Call us to get started: 866-457-3843.