A study at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine shows substance abuse rates higher in teenagers with ADHD.
Researchers studied nearly 600 children over an eight-year period from childhood through adolescence. They found that when the kids were about 15 years old, 35-percent with ADHD reported using one or more substances.That compared to only 20-percent of teens without the disorder. Also teens with ADHD were about twice as likely to smoke cigarettes or marijuana.
Both kids with ADHD and those without were likely to abuse alcohol.
"We are working hard to understand the reasons why children with ADHD have increased risk of drug abuse," said Brooke Molina, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and lead author of the report. "Our hypotheses, partly supported by our research and that of others, is that impulsive decision making, poor school performance, and difficulty making healthy friendships all contribute," added Molina.