Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Cocaine Abuse
Studies show a potent link between ADHD and substance abuse, particularly cocaine dependency. One reason for this is that when someone struggles with ADHD, their brain does not produce enough dop
amine. As a result, they struggle with motivation, attention, and concentration. However, stimulant drugs increase dopamine levels in the brain and can thereby reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Hence, the most common prescription medications for ADHD have a stimulant quality to them, like Ritalin or Adderall.
However, if someone has ADHD and it is either undiagnosed or struggling to keep it at bay, illegal and dangerous stimulants – such as cocaine or speed – can also seem like it is helping with the symptoms. For example, suppose someone is living with undiagnosed ADHD. In that case, when they consume cocaine, they might begin to feel ‘normal.’ Unaware that they have a mental health condition and are beginning the dangerous process of self-medicating, they perceive their ADHD symptoms to be flaws and the cocaine is actually helping them manage these issues.
But of course, cocaine is a highly dangerous and extremely addictive substance. Over time, the individual will develop a tolerance and need to take more and more of it to acquire that feeling of normality. As a result, cocaine will begin to wreak havoc on your body and mind. Addictions also weaken our brain’s capacity to regulate our emotions, which will only worsen the ADHD symptoms in the long term.
Hence, it is vital to ensure that your treatment provider caters to dual diagnoses. If ADHD is the root cause of your cocaine addiction, your chance of long-term recovery skyrockets once it is properly addressed.