Overcoming ADD ADHD Substance Abuse: A Journey Worth Undertaking

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Substance Abuse and the Dangers of Self-Medicating for ADD ADHD

ADD ADHH substance abuse might seem like a jumbled mishmash of terms but if you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in how they relate and how common it is for these conditions to overlap and occur simultaneously. It is not uncommon at all for a person with ADD or ADHD to have issues with alcohol, drugs, or both. Perhaps you already know this from firsthand experience or suspect it in yourself or a loved one. In some instances, the substance abuse resulted from the ADD or ADHD person’s attempt to self-medicate in order to find relief from most common symptoms of ADHD in adults.

The low self-esteem resulting from an inability to compete a task might diminish once a person has taken any sort of mind altering substance. The hyperactive mind, and conversely the bored reaction to life, can be made to feel quite the opposite with the right combination of drugs. Some drugs will mellow the racing thoughts in an individual while other drugs might make mundane activities appear to be rather engaging. But let’s be perfectly clear about this; using drugs and alcohol is not an effective means of coping with an attention deficit disorder. The relief, which is really just a form of escape, only temporarily addresses the symptoms. More and more will be needed, and once a person slides into a full-blown addiction, nothing, not even the prospect of jail, complete alienation, mental institutions, or the prospect of death will stand in the way of seeking the never can be repeated first high.

Treatment Options and the Difficulty in Getting to that Stage

Unfortunately, when full-blown substance abuse is a factor, an active alcoholic or addict is not going to be interested in treatment until they’ve reached their bottom. Substance abuse can muddy the waters and make it difficult for psychiatrists and psychologists to diagnose and treat ADD and ADHD. Just like it is difficult to get an addicted person to do anything else that will benefit their mental or physical health, it may be very hard to get them to see a doctor or counselor to undergo the best techniques used to council ADHD. They may not go at all, stop going, or be erratic about taking any medication that a doctor prescribed for their attention deficit problem.

Another huge pitfall lies in the possibility of someone with an addictive personality (which a person with a substance abuse problem likely has) developing a prescription abuse problem. A doctor might prescribe a stimulant for ADHD that the patient will wind up abusing.

All this is to say that it is a difficult journey for someone with both ADD ADHD substance abuse issues, but there is always hope and one should never give up on the possibility of effectively overcoming those obstacles whether you suffer from them or witness them in loved ones. Support groups like AA and NA are the most effective ways of coping with the substance abuse.

Once a person attains a little clarity of mind from what they learn there, they are a lot more willing and able to treat the ADD ADHD side of things. Some may believe there is a stigma attached to such groups, but if an entire self-help section from a book store was boiled down to its essence, the principle and practices learned in such groups would be the result. The last group on earth you ever wanted to join could end up being the best group you were ever lucky enough to find. But it will take time and work on yourself (remember the sage advice of Socrates “the unexamined life is not worth living”).

Just like support groups for PTSD can change, and even save lives, groups that cultivate recovery from alcoholism and addiction are vital to people suffering from this potentially devastating combination. Help is available, and if you are willing to take it, you might attain a level of satisfaction in life that you never thought possible.


Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/prescription-drug-abuse/DS01079

Neurocognitive Psychotherapy for Adults with ADD (ADHD) https://www.addvance.com/help/professionals/neurocognitive.html