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Impact of Substance Use Disorder on ADHD and Its Treatment

Timothy E. Wilens, MD, and Himanshu P. Upadhyaya, MBBS, MS, Chair

Published: August 15, 2007

Article Abstract

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with a high rate of psychiatric comorbidity. Substance use disorder (SUD) is common, affecting 1 in 5 adults with ADHD. Adolescents with ADHD are twice as likely to become cigarette smokers as those without ADHD, and cigarette smoking is a significant risk factor for the development of subsequent SUD in adulthood. Patients with SUD and ADHD have been shown to have lower retention in SUD treatment programs, lower rates of SUD remission, and longer courses of SUD. SUD also complicates the diagnosis of adult ADHD. Fortunately, pharmacologic treatment of ADHD does not appear to increase the risk for development of SUD in ADHD patients.

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