The main symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. This disorder often begins between ages 3 and 6, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Boys (13.2%) were more likely than girls (5.6%) to have been diagnosed with ADHD.
ADHD co-occurs with other disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. People with ADHD are more likely to develop a substance use disorder (SUD) than people without ADHD. You might think that drinking alcohol would help to calm these symptoms down. However, alcohol amplifies them.
Read on to understand how alcohol abuse and ADHD are linked.
What Is ADHD And How Does It Affect People?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder characterized by focus, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness problems. People with ADHD may struggle to pay attention, regulate their emotions, and control their impulses. It can lead to problems in school, work, and social relationships.
What Are the Symptoms of ADHD?
There are three types of symptoms:
- Inattention: People with ADHD have trouble paying attention. They may daydream, miss details, and be easily confused. They may appear not to listen when spoken to and forget things as soon as they’re out of sight. This type of ADHD is called “attention-deficit disorder” (ADD).
- Hyperactivity: This symptom is characterized by fidgeting, squirming, and constant movement. People with ADHD may feel restless and have trouble sitting still for long periods. They may also talk excessively.
- Impulsivity: It is a common symptom seen in ADHD people. They tend to make quick decisions without thinking about the consequences. These people find it difficult to control their urges and cravings.
How Is Alcohol Linked to ADHD?
There are a few ways that alcohol can be linked to ADHD.
- Earlier Alcohol Use People with ADHD are more likely to start drinking earlier than those without ADHD. It is especially true for males with ADHD. Early alcohol use is linked to several problems, including an increased risk of developing an addiction later in life.Alcohol can interact with the medications used to treat ADHD, which can be dangerous. People with ADHD may also drink more heavily than those without the condition. It can lead to problems such as alcohol poisoning and liver damage.Heavy drinking can also worsen the symptoms of ADHD. It can make it harder to focus, be impulsive, and control emotions.
- Self-Medicating People with ADHD may turn to alcohol as a way to self-medicate. They may drink to improve their focus or control their impulsive behavior. However, drinking alcohol will only make the symptoms of ADHD worse in the long run.
- Increased Sensitivity Alcohol may also increase sensitivity in people with ADHD. It means they’re more likely to feel the effects of alcohol more strongly than people without ADHD. It can lead to problems such as blacking out or feeling sick after only a small amount of alcohol.