ADHD, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, falls into two categories hyperactivity and inattention. A child must show at least 6 out of 9 symptoms of either category. Additionally the behavioral symptoms may cause difficulties in their lives, and have consistent symptoms no matter what environment they are in. Approximately 5-10% of the nation’s children are diagnosed with ADHD.
A long-term study conducted by Steve S. Lee of UCLA has found it clear that children with ADHD have a higher probability of developing a substance abuse problem as they grew into young adults. Lee and his team conducted 27 studies observing 4,100 children with ADHD and 6,800 children without ADHD over a period of up to 10 years.
The criteria for the study was very thorough and the first of its complexity on the correlation of ADHD and substance abuse. Lee’s reasoning for studying several groups versus one was to broaden the horizon of the study. One isolated group can leave hesitations that the results are true to society as a whole. The results of the studies were consistent and compelling.
The rigorous and complex study left little to no room for any error in their findings, it was clear that those with ADHD were at a much greater risk of having substance abuse problems in early adulthood. The diverse study was of children of several ethnicities, race and of both genders. Across the board substances they ended up abusing were alcohol, a variety of drugs, and nicotine.
Lee found three distinguished scenarios for the children with ADHD. All three groups were relatively the same size. Approximately one-third of them had experienced severe social and academic issues. One-third showed moderate problems and the remaining third did reasonably well socially and academically.
As the children with ADHD started using substances in early adulthood expressed that they struggled with substance abuse, addiction and many claimed having many failed attempts of quitting. Early intervention could potentially change the statistics. Concerned parents may want to have their child examined by a health professional specializing in the mental health of children.
Addiction can be a powerful disease and the young adults that participated in the study made it clear that they were already suffering. A failed attempt to quit is a clear sign of addiction. Innovative studies such as Lee’s continuous to educate society of the power of addiction and what initiates it. A better understanding of addiction will hopefully decrease substance abuse and save the lives of those suffering from addiction.