Understanding How Alcohol Abuse Affects ADHD

Understanding How Alcohol Abuse Affects ADHD

The relationship between alcohol abuse and ADHD has been studied, especially due to the prevalence of alcohol abuse among people with ADHD.

But how does alcohol affect symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and what impacts does it have?

Find out more about how alcohol abuse affects ADHD here.


What is the Link Between Alcohol Abuse and ADHD?

Research has found that people with ADHD are more likely to develop and alcohol abuse disorder than others, and this may be due to a number of reasons. Some key causes of alcohol abuse in people with ADHD include the following:

Impulsive Behaviour

One of the main symptoms of ADHD is impulsive behaviours, which can manifest as difficulty in controlling urges as well as making impulsive decisions. This impulsive behaviour may lead individuals with ADHD to engage in risky behaviours, such as excessive alcohol consumption or abuse without fully considering the long-term consequences.

Binge drinking and excessive drinking are often found in impulsive personality types, and this is something that individuals with ADHD will struggle to control.

Alcohol as Self-medication

Some individuals with ADHD may consume alcohol as a form of self-medication to cope with the symptoms of the disorder. Common ADHD symptoms such as restlessness, difficulty focusing, depression or feelings of inadequacy can be alleviated momentarily by alcohol, which can lead to a cycle of dependence and alcohol abuse.

Those who struggle to manage their ADHD symptoms are at higher risk of using alcohol to self-medicate.

Mental Health Conditions

ADHD often co-occurs with other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or substance use disorders. People who experience mental health disorders are more at risk of alcohol abuse, as individuals may use alcohol as a way to cope with the symptoms of both ADHD and anxiety or depression.

Genetic Factors

There is also evidence to suggest that genetic factors may contribute to both ADHD and alcohol dependence. This is because certain genetic variations associated with ADHD may also influence susceptibility to alcohol abuse, although more research needs to be completed to understand the relationship between the two.


Effects of Alcohol Abuse on ADHD

The effects of alcohol on individuals with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) can be significant and is a reason why the two are often experienced together.

As alcohol consumption can exacerbate the impulsive behaviour that is commonly associated with ADHD, people are more likely to experience poor decision-making when drinking. Alcohol also impairs cognitive function such as attention and focus which can worsen existing difficulties in concentration for individuals with ADHD.

Emotional regulation may also be affected in those with ADHD who drink, as alcohol can intensify mood swings and emotions which can result in psychological problems and depressive episodes during and after drinking.

Alcohol can also disrupt sleep patterns and worsen existing sleep disturbances experienced by individuals with ADHD which increases daytime fatigue and general wellbeing.

The main risk of drinking alcohol with ADHD is that there is a heightened risk of developing an alcohol addiction, as alcohol may be used as a form of self-medication to cope with ADHD symptoms or lead to extreme consumption.

Individuals with ADHD should be made aware of these potential risks and exercise caution when consuming alcohol to avoid alcohol abuse affecting ADHD and vice versa. If a person is struggling with alcohol abuse and ADHD, seek support from healthcare professionals or support groups to help.


Are People with ADHD More Likely to Develop an Addiction?

People with ADHD are more likely to develop an addiction as there is a link between the two, and a key symptom of ADHD is impulsive behaviour. This can often result in unhealthy drinking routines that can develop into alcohol abuse over time.

Similarly, alcohol abuse affects ADHD and often worsens the symptoms. People who have ADHD should be careful when drinking alcohol and consume alcohol in moderation in order to avoid potential negative effects, such as poor mental health, erratic decision-making, risky situations and uncontrollable emotions.

There is a strong link between alcohol abuse and ADHD, and the two conditions often worsen each other. No matter whether alcohol is consumed in order to self-medicate symptoms of ADHD, or alcohol abuse has developed as a result of ADHD, people should take care when consuming alcohol as they are more likely to develop an addiction.

Research has also found that people with ADHD are more sensitive to alcohol than those without ADHD, which is another reason why an unhealthy relationship with alcohol may develop and result in alcohol abuse.


Treatment for Alcohol Abuse and ADHD

As ADHD is a key risk factor for alcohol addiction and other substance addictions, it is important to be aware of the risks of drinking if you have ADHD.

If an addiction has developed, it may be necessary to seek treatment for alcohol abuse and ADHD. The sooner treatment is sought out the better, as long-term alcohol abuse can cause a number of negative health effects and may result in worsened ADHD symptoms.

Private alcohol rehab programmes are the most intensive and recommended form of treatment for people struggling with alcohol addictions, especially those with dual diagnosis and more complex conditions. Treatment involves an alcohol detox followed by various therapy treatments to help treat both physical and psychological addictions.

Patients with ADHD will have a programme tailored to their needs to ensure that the programme is as effective as possible.


Get Help for Alcohol Abuse and ADHD Today

If you are struggling with alcohol addiction and feel your alcohol abuse affects ADHD, get in touch with professionals today for support and treatment to get your life back on track.

Taking care of your mental and physical health is really important, so don’t be afraid to reach out for support and help if you are struggling. It can be extremely easy to get caught up in a cycle of alcohol abuse and poor mental and physical health.

You can phone our team on 0800 001 4070 or fill out our contact form to learn more about the dual diagnosis treatment available at Cassiobury Court.