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Treatment for ADHD and Substance Abuse

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

ADHD and Substance Abuse

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the more common disorders in teens that can occur in childhood and progress throughout adolescence and adulthood. With ADHD, there are parts of the brain that are underdeveloped. 

It’s a common misconception that ADHD occurs because of increased activity or overstimulation in the brain; however, there is actually decreased activity in the executive functioning of the brain located in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that controls organization, performing tasks, and decision-making.  

Statistics on Teens with ADHD

According to recent studies: 

  • More than 10% of 5-17 year olds are diagnosed with ADHD
  • The average age of diagnosis for ADHD is 7 years old
  • Boys are four times as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls
  • Thirty-five percent of teenagers with ADHD, at an average of 15 years old, have abused drugs or alcohol (compared to 20% of those without ADHD)
  • Ten percent of teenagers with ADHD, at an average of 15 years old, met the criteria for a Substance Use Disorder (compared to 3% of those without ADHD)

Risk Factors of ADHD

While each individual is different, the following risk factors increase a child’s likelihood of having ADHD:

  • Gender (males)
  • Family history of ADHD 
  • Prenatal risks  
  • Environmental toxins
  • Underdevelopment in the structure of the brain

Symptoms of ADHD

ADHD falls under three subtypes: inattentive, hyperactive/impulse and a combination of both inattentive and hyperactive/impulse. There is no one telltale sign of ADHD. Some common symptoms of ADHD include:

  • Problems completing tasks
  • Disorganization
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Constantly fidgety
  • Easily distracted
  • Impulsive actions/restlessness
  • Lack of control of speech
  • Constantly interrupting others
  • Losing or misplacing things

Some teens may have hyperactivity, some may be inattentive, and some may have a combination of both. Teens already experience a lot of pressure and stress in their daily lives. The symptoms of ADHD can be so overwhelming that teens with ADHD often cannot function well in school, work and interpersonal relationships.ADHD Symptoms

Common Co-occurring Disorders 

Not everyone with ADHD has the same symptoms. Many adolescents have a combination of different types of ADHD and some have other co-occurring mental health disorders. Therefore, ADHD cannot be treated with a one-size-fits-all approach. 

Below are a few common co-occurring disorders:

There is a strong connection with alcoholism and ADHD. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, 21 percent of boys and 13 percent of girls with ADHD struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. 

Effective Treatment for ADHD and Substance Abuse

Types of ADHDAt Teen Treatment Center, our staff is equipped to help your teenager overcome any issues contributing to their substance abuse while also helping them quell the symptoms of ADHD.  Treating ADHD and drug or alcohol abuse often requires an integrative treatment approach: 

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective approach for treating the symptoms of ADHD and substance abuse. A primary therapist can help teens address their maladaptive thou

ghts and feelings that contribute to their behavior and help them to develop new and healthy behaviors. 

Recreational therapy is very effective at helping teens get their minds off the stress from dealing with the symptoms of ADHD and teach them how to have fun without drugs or alcohol. By participating in recreational activities, teens can focus on their psychological, social, and physical well-being while learning life skills and healthy coping strategies. 

Family therapy is an essential part of each treatment plan and gives teens the best chance at a lasting recovery. A primary therapist will work with family members to help them develop healthy communication skills, consistent structure in the home and school environment, and positive reward systems for their teen’s good behaviors and performance.

Help Your Teen Overcome ADHD and Substance Abuse

Teens often turn to substance abuse to cope, relax, fit in or slow down their hyperactivity; whatever their reason for using drugs and alcohol, there are available resources to help teens recove.

If your teen is struggling with ADHD and substance abuse, call us today at (844) 319-5239. Our experienced team of professionals can help you and your family heal. Our admissions counselors are available to help answer any questions you may have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays. 

Pages Cited:  National Institute on Mental Health , Centers for Disease Control, Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

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