People with ADHD are at a higher risk for engaging in addictive behaviours due to challenges with being impulsive.  They will often make a decision to use substances without considering the consequences.

Substances can also be used as a coping strategy.  Some people use substances to manage low self-esteem caused by the difficulties they experience with their ADHD.  Others may use substances like caffeine, cocaine, or marijuana as a way to self-medicate undiagnosed ADHD.

Children – and adults – with ADHD are also more likely to become addicted to video games, as these games often provide immediate reinforcement, continuous excitement, and a way to escape the challenges they face in school or life.  This can include social difficulties and challenges with school.

This section provides resources about ADHD and addictive behaviours.


Recommended Resources

Use all 8 resources (may change later).

The Effects of Cannabis Use During Adolescence. Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. (PDF)

John Ratey, MD Discusses ADD (BSP 45). Brain Science. (Website)

No Link Found Between ADHD Drugs and Future Substance Abuse. PsychCentral. (Website)

The Truth About ADHD and Addiction. ADDitude. (Website)

Is Your Child Addicted to Video Games? ADDitude. (Website)




When too much isn’t enough: ending the destructive cycle of ADHD and addictive behavior. by Wendy Richardson

The link between A.D.D. and addiction: getting the help you deserve. by Wendy Richardson

In the realm of hungry ghosts: close encounters with addiction. by Gabor Mate.