Page last updated: August 15, 2017
Smoking, alcohol and drug use in youth and adults with ADHD

Previous research suggests a relationship between attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and smoking, alcohol and illicit drug use, however most studies have focused on adolescents or young adults, or clinically ascertained samples.

A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry analysed population-based data on the relationship between ADHD and at-risk health behaviours in adolescents and adults. Data were derived from a Statistics Canada population-based health survey.

The researchers found that Individuals with ADHD started smoking at a younger age. They consumed more alcoholic drinks on drinking days, and women with ADHD were more likely to engage in binge drinking. Women over the age of 25 and men with ADHD were more likely to meet alcohol-dependence lifetime criteria. People with ADHD were at a greater risk of drug misuse and dependence.

People with ADHD are more likely to partake in at risk behaviours, the researchers conclude.

Source: Smoking, alcohol and drug use in youth and adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Sydney Osland, Lauren Hirsch, Tamara Pringsheim. British Journal of Psychiatry Open May 2017, 3 (3) 141-146;



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