Study 20% of Alcoholics had ADHD 13

A study in the Journal Alcohol and Alcoholism looked at 91 adults with alcohol dependence and 61 adults with multiple substance addiction and they determined if these patients were affected by ADHD.

RESULTS: 20.9% WURS-k (Wender Utah Rating Scale) 23.1% (DSM-IV diagnostic criteria) of the alcohol-dependent patients showed evidence of retrospective ADHD affliction in childhood. With the help of CAARS, (Conners’ Adult ADHD Rating Scales) ADHD was proved to be persistent in 33.3% of the adult patients.

But Adults with ADHD are only 5% of the population.

In the group of substance-addicted patients 50.8% (WURS-k) and 54.1% (DSM-IV) presented with diagnostic criteria for ADHD in childhood and 65.5% (CAARS) showed evidence of ADHD persisting in adulthood.

Again Adults with ADHD are only 5% of the population.

CONCLUSIONS: These results reveal that habit-forming illnesses can be associated with a high comorbidity with ADHD, expressed in the form of alcohol abuse and also in consumption of illegal drugs. The results underline the great importance of early and adequate diagnostics and therapy of ADHD for the prevention of habit-forming illnesses.

While adults with ADHD are only 5% of the population, ADDers are dramatically over represented in people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs, the SMALLEST numbers I’ve seen on ADHD and addiction are 20-25% in peer reviewed clinical journals in Pub Med, (a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine indexing articles from MEDLINE and other life science journals for biomedical articles) and I’ve frequently seem much larger ones. If adults with ADHD aren’t diagnosed and treated, and 85% of them aren’t, they will find ways to treat themselves or self medicate. Some will self medicate in positive ways with exercise, work or hobbies they enjoy, meditation and sex. Others will self medicate with alcohol and drugs, tobacco, food, and gambling, because they all boost dopamine, the brain chemical ADDers are short of and that the ADHD medications increase.

So at a minimum, adults with Attention Deficit Disorder are 4 times more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, there’s no controversy at all about those numbers by those who know ADHD. But in the media, government, the health bureaucracies and the education systems often seem to be totally oblivious of this. Even if you don’t care about us as human beings, the financial costs of NOT diagnosing and treating adult ADHD are huge. And we’re not even talking about the higher rates of eating disorders, depression, dsythemia and anxiety, let alone crime (also off the charts) among Adults with ADHD. But on the flip side there are billionaires with ADHD, and also many strengths associated with ADHD, properly managed.

Here’s some articles and blog posts on the links between ADHD and addictions.

There is a huge problem in my hometown Vancouver BC Canada with drug and alcohol abuse and trafficking and associated crime, violence and homelessness, we’re in the middle of a civic election and yet no one is mentioning the connection between ADHD and these problems. No politician, no one in the media is talking about it. Peter Ladner candidate for the NPA isn’t talking about it, Gregor Robertson, candidate for Vision Vancouver. Or COPE. I searched on their websites for ADHD and found nothing. We really need a full time adult mental health advocate at city hall. Even though mental health is a provincial jurisdiction, Vancouver often pays the biggest cost of the provincial government’s inaction on mental health. There is no BC provincial adult mental health advocate, there should be one.

It’s hard to find someone in BC to diagnose and medically treat ADHD, so few are trained in it because it’s not being adequately taught in our medical schools, and I get people emailing me and phoning me to find out where to get diagnosed for ADHD several times a week. The BC Liberal (really neo-conservative) government closed down down the only provincial Adult ADHD clinic at childrens hospital because it had a 1 year wait list, which was politically embarrassing. Kill the wait list, avoid bad media coverage about long wait lists. I contacted the NDP (the left wing opposition) repeatedly to help raise the issue in question period but I kept getting shuffled around, promises were continually made and nothing happened. We got coverage on BCTV but no other media outlet and the BC adult ADHD clinic is still dead and the patients are still abandoned.

So diagnose and treat ADHD in children and adults now, or pay a hundred times the price or more in financial terms and in human suffering later, your choice citizens. You’ll be paying the cost one way or another.

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