The Link Between ADHD and addiction
It is very common for people who struggle with ADHD to turn to addictive behaviors, such as eating disorders, gambling and substance abuse as a way to deal with their untreated ADHD. A person with untreated ADHD is constantly looking for something that will help to calm their restless brains and help them function better. A lot of times someone with untreated ADHD will struggle with staying focused and in turn deal with low self-esteem due to feeling like they are less than, or not understanding why tasks seem to come so easily to others. Addictive substances and behaviors are a way for one to self-medicate and sometimes briefly improve their performance.
The problem lies in the fact that self-medicating works at first. ADHD is most commonly treated with prescriptions such as adderall and Ritalin, which can be classified as stimulants. Street drugs such as cocaine, diet pills and “speed” mimic the effects of the prescription medication and seem to help with the symptoms. Nicotine, caffine and sugar can act in the same way. After self-medicating for a period of time this behavior cam bring on many addiction related issues such as impulsive crimes, high risk behaviors, violence, unemployment, health issues and difficulties in relationships. Many people who deal with untreated ADHD are in need of treatment for co-occuring disorders.