ADHD + Alcohol/Marijuana/Recreational Drugs

 ADHD + Alcohol/Marijuana/Recreational Drugs

Individuals who struggle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often struggle with symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, poor time management skills, disorganization, impulsivity, forgetfulness, lack of motivation, restlessness, anxiety, poor self-image, lack of confidence, and even extreme frustration or rage in some cases. Because of these symptoms or other related ones, people with ADHD face several complications, specifically if untreated for an extended period of time. Some of the complications these individuals can face include poor school and/or work performance, unemployment, unstable relationships, poor mental health, and the use of alcohol and/or drugs.

Research shows that the rates of alcohol and marijuana use along with other substances are significantly greater for people with ADHD compared to those who do not have ADHD. Research also shows that individuals with ADHD attempt to use alcohol and/or drugs to cope with their symptoms when in fact, the use of alcohol and/or drugs can do more harm than good. ADHD is known to impact the frontal lobe of the brain negatively, which plays a part in the symptoms one experiences from ADHD. The use of alcohol and/or drugs also affects the frontal lobe, which hinders a person’s ability to think clearly, focus and make good decisions.

From my career experience working with several individuals who have ADHD, there has been consistency in the reporting that initially the use of alcohol and/or drugs appears to be helpful in terms of he/she feeling “normal and able to focus,”. However, over time these same individuals report feeling worse than prior to the use of alcohol and/or drugs. There are a number of reasons this could be as alcohol and/or drugs increase dopamine which may help to decrease or ease the ADHD symptoms, however over time the ongoing use of such substances actually depletes dopamine, making the ADHD symptoms worse. It is also important to note, that if an individual is taking prescribed medication for ADHD, the use of alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs can cause severe side effects.

Stephanie Robilio, LCSW
Published Author
Clinical Director at Agape Behavioral Healthcare


To learn more about Stephanie visit and follow her on Instagram, Facebook @mindfulliving, and subscribe to her on YouTube Stephanie Robilio. Find all of Stephanie's books on Amazon: WellNowMindful Makeover, Painted Soul, and Bonafide Spirit. To join real conversations about what it takes to achieve optimal wellness in mind, body, and spirit, check out The Mindful Living Podcast on Spotify.


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