ADHD is a major risk factor for addiction. Having ADHD makes you about 50 percent more likely than the general population to develop a substance use issue, most commonly alcohol. People with ADHD often have racing thoughts that jump from one topic to another, which can be exhausting. They often try to turn down the volume with alcohol or other depressants. Sometimes they self-medicate with stimulants to help them concentrate. Many people who are in recovery, or thinking of seeking treatment, for substance use issues worry that the stimulants typically prescribed for ADHD will lead them back to addiction. Is it safe to take ADHD medication if you’re in recovery? While it’s true that Adderall and Ritalin are commonly misused, they are most often misused by people who have not been diagnosed with ADHD, especially by students who feel like they have too much to do. If you do have ADHD, taking Adderall or Ritalin as directed is usually worth the risk. Studies have shown that people who take medication for their ADHD actually have much less risk of relapse or of becoming addicted in the first place. In fact, trying to stay sober without effectively treating ADHD is an uphill battle. If you are concerned that you might start misusing your ADHD medication, there are certain precautions you can take. First, be sure your doctor knows about your addiction history and share your concerns about misuse. Some doctors will choose to prescribe for only a week at a time, instead of the usual month, to limit overuse. Also, there are medications other than Adderall and Ritalin for ADHD, such as Wellbutrin and Clonidine, which have little risk of misuse. They aren’t quite as effective for most people but they’re safer. Second, it might be a good idea to let someone else control your medication. Give your prescription to a parent, friend, or partner and tell that person to only give you your prescribed daily dose. This is an added protection against using too much at once. Also, make sure to ask your friends and family to help keep you accountable and watch out for drug-seeking behavior. If you have ADHD and you are considering seeking treatment for addiction, be sure to find a program that can treat your dual diagnosis. It can be complicated trying to treat ADHD and addiction simultaneously. Experienced staff will know how to optimize your ADHD treatment in the context of recovery while minimizing the risk of misusing your medication.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and ADHD, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.