People who suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) can experience extremely troubling symptoms that reduce their ability to function in everyday life. Although a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD is most commonly received in childhood, some cases are not detected until much later in life. The most common symptoms include a shortened attention span, being easily distracted from the focus of one?s attention and fidgeting and chronic feelings of restlessness. Unfortunately, ADD or ADHD patients often self-medicate in the hopes that their substance abuse will help them to feel better. At White Sands treatment center we can help you to tackle both the substance abuse problem and the underlying mental health issue. However, the first step is to learn more about the nature of addiction commonly experienced by ADD or ADHD patients.
Addictive Substances Often Abused by ADD/ADHD Sufferers
- Prescription benzodiazepines like Xanax and Klonopin
- Prescription painkillers like codeine and valium
- Street amphetamines
Food and ADD/ADHD
In addition, it is worth noting that those with ADD or ADHD can be prone to binging on food, as for some people it can help to induce temporary feelings of calmness and contentment. For example, sugar, salt and carbohydrates can be ingested to change the person’s mood, and may be consumed entirely independently of any hunger. Compulsive eating can become an addiction, dominating thoughts and controlling behaviors.
The Dangers of Self-Medicating for ADD/ADHD Sufferers
While self-medicating typically begins with pleasant results that can help the person to feel better and lessen their sense of restlessness, this type of behavior can quickly lead to tolerance, dependence and addiction. Once addiction is established, the individual can begin to experience profound problems with strained relationships, poor job performance, and risk-taking or criminal behaviors.
In addition, the substance abuse commonly found in ADD/ADHD patients can be extremely dangerous to their health; each different drug of abuse carries with it a wide range of serious consequences for the body. For example, over-indulging in prescription painkillers quickly leads to tolerance and dependence, increasing the likelihood of accidental overdose (which can be fatal). Meanwhile, abuse of amphetamines like speed can lead to cardiovascular complications like heart attacks or strokes, and may add further mental health problems to the mix. Amphetamine psychosis is not uncommon, and its symptoms are broadly similar to those experienced by paranoid schizophrenics. Further, even abuse of food can be dangerous, leading to eating disorders such as bulimia or resulting in health-related complications of obesity (such as blocked arteries and extra strain on the heart).
Signs and Aymptoms of Abuse and Addiction
If you are struggling with the symptoms of ADD/ADHD and are wondering whether you are addicted to drugs, alcohol or food, ask yourself the following questions. Try to be honest when considering your answers.
- Do you have difficulty cutting back on eating, drinking or drug use, even when you intend to cut back?
- Do you mislead others about the extent or frequency of your eating, drinking or drug use?
- Have you been involved in uncomfortable conversations with friends or family because they are concerned about your consumption of food, alcohol or drugs?
- Do you regularly regret how you have behaved when drunk or high, or suffer from blackouts that leave you feeling confused about how you have acted?
- Is your performance at work or school suffering due to your use of drugs or alcohol?
- Has your mental or physical health decreased in connection with drugs, food or alcohol?
- Do you feel unwell if you go without drugs or alcohol for more than a day?
- Have you failed to fulfil important obligations because you were drunk, suffering from a hangover, high, or on a comedown?
If you have answered “yes” to more than one of these questions, it is highly likely that you could use the help of a treatment center in order to end the destructive cycle of abuse and addiction.
Treating ADD/ADHD and Aubstance Abuse at White Sands
If you suffer from a mental health issue in conjunction with an addiction, this is called a co-occurring disorder and it makes you an ideal candidate for a dual diagnosis treatment program. This type of program takes an integrated approach to treatment, addressing both the symptoms caused by the mental illness and those intimately connected with the substance abuse problem. Our dedicated and professional team will offer you the following:
- If it is necessary, you will go through an inpatient medical detox that will ensure you become clean in a safe, gradual way that minimizes complications and withdrawal symptoms.
- If it is appropriate, we will prescribe medication to help control ADD or ADHD. We will closely track your progress and find the dose that works for you.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy specifically designed for patients with ADD/ADHD, which will help you to understand why you turned to self-medication in order to deal with your disorder. You will also learn powerful coping mechanisms that can be highly effective at relapse prevention.
- Education that will help you to understand how both addiction and ADD/ADHD can influence emotions and behavior. This may take place in the context of a family program, improving relationships between you and your loved ones.
- A supportive, open community where you can improve your social skills, boost your ability to communicate with others, attend support groups, take part in regular exercise and enjoy other recreational activities.
- An aftercare plan that will help you to adjust to life outside the treatment center and reduces the risk of relapse. Depending on your specific situation and needs, this may include community meetings, partial hospitalization, or a stay in our sober living community.
Get Help Now
If you know or fear that you are suffering from ADD or ADHD and your self-medication has lead to the warning signs of addiction, don?t wait any longer to seek help. Call White Sands today at 877 – 855- 3470 to speak to a member of our staff who understands addictions and co-occurring disorders. There is hope for recovery.