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.


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