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ADHD and Alcohol

ocd and alcohol blog

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder. A person is typically diagnosed as a child, and the disorder will often last into adulthood.

A child with ADHD may have difficulty staying still, be susceptible to constant daydreams, or have a hard time resisting temptation. As these children grow into adulthood, there have been connections made to their susceptibility to substance use disorders. Banyan’s Delaware rehab center explores the relationship between ADHD and alcohol.  

Are alcohol and ADHD related? 

Research has shown there are links between alcohol use and this condition. For instance, people with ADHD may be more prone to drinking earlier in life, as well as picking up heavy habits. Although one does not necessarily cause the other, there are some correlations to keep in mind, including:  

  • Severe childhood ADHD can be associated with early alcohol use. 
  • People with ADHD are prone to binge drink in early adulthood. 
  • Symptoms can be aggravated by alcohol use, including difficulty focusing and impulsiveness.  
  • Childhood ADHD is a strong risk factor in the development of alcoholism. 

It is also worth considering that alcohol can impact the individual's brain, making them more prone to violent behavior, poor decision-making, and other negative outcomes. These occurrences may also be influenced by the presence of prescription medications used to treat ADHD. 

ADHD Medication and Alcohol 

Stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall are considered to be some of the most commonly prescribed medications used to treat ADHD. They operate by increasing central nervous system (CNS) activity. Drinking, on the other hand, is responsible for decreasing CNS activity. Combining stimulants and alcohol can drastically change the way the body processes either substance. This can lead to enhanced side effects, such as:  

  • High blood pressure 
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Rapid heart rate 

When unpleasant symptoms present themselves, it can seem tempting to keep them to oneself. Many people would rather act like everything is ok when in reality, they are not. If a dependency on a substance is formed, whether to a prescribed substance or otherwise, choosing to ignore it can have devastating consequences. 

The Relation Between ADHD and Alcoholism 

If a person with this condition is not surrounded by a functional support system, they could be more likely to resort to drugs and alcohol to manage their symptoms. This attempt to self-medicate can easily escalate into an addiction if not addressed properly. It is important for people to consider that imposing the additional risk factors of alcohol use is likely to impede their chances of enjoying a stable lifestyle.   

Despite good intentions, adding a substance that minimizes inhibitions to a condition hallmarked by impulsivity can result in severely negative consequences. Substance abuse can be defined as a pattern of excessive use of a substance wherein there is impaired control over behavior, with continued use despite adverse consequences. This constant need for impairment is extremely risky in hyperactive individuals. Additionally, teenage alcohol consumption is quite common, especially if they are in an environment that encourages such behaviors.  

Get Help at Banyan Treatment Center Delaware  

ADHD and alcohol can become a dangerous combination for many people. Our Milford rehab is an excellent resource for individuals in the midst of substance addiction. Treatments are available for addictions to both alcohol and prescription medications 

For those in the midst of a substance use disorder, our detox in Delaware provides effective treatment designed to aid patients through the often unpleasant experience of withdrawal. It is a highly recommended way to begin the recovery process and can make a world of difference in the patient's receptiveness to treatment.  

Additionally, a variety of unique and effective therapy programs are offered at our locations. For instance, equine therapy is an incredible experience from both a treatment and a human perspective. Being able to focus on the care of these majestic animals can provide patients with an incredible new outlook on their lives, conditions, the world around them, and how they interact with it.  

ADHD and alcoholism can seem overwhelming, but we want you to understand that there is a community ready to welcome you with open arms and watch you navigate the road to recovery, cheering you on the entire journey. 


To learn more about Banyan’s Delaware rehab center, call 888-280-4763 today.  


Related Readings:  

Link Between OCD and Alcohol Abuse 

Foods That Help With Alcohol Cravings 

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.