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.
- You, Your ADHD, and Marijuana. CanLearn Society. (Blog Post)
- 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. (Book)
- The link between A.D.D. and addiction: getting the help you deserve. by Wendy Richardson. (Book)
- In the realm of hungry ghosts: close encounters with addiction. by Gabor Mate. (Book)