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Does ADHD Lead to Substance Abuse?

Does ADHD Lead to Substance Abuse?

Author: Shernide Delva

According to research, 25 percent of adults treated for alcohol and substance abuse have ADHD.

The two often go hand in hand, according to WebMD.

Common hallmarks of ADHD such as low attention span and impulsiveness make a person diagnosed with ADHD more vulnerable to patterns of addiction. Furthermore, the stress of undiagnosed ADHD make drugs and alcohol more tempting, the study notes.

“I see a lot of young women who will tell me that they’ve been able to gut it out and get through, but it’s been because what typically takes someone an hour or two to do at work takes them four hours. They’ve been getting to work early and staying late,” says Dr. Timothy Wilens, Chief of Child Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.

A 2010 study titled “A Sobering Fact: ADHD Leads to Substance Abuse” explained the connection between substance abuse and ADHD. It turns out, the risk of substance abuse among those with ADHD is “two to three times higher” than for people without the disorder.

Of course, what comes first?  In a chicken-or-egg fashion, we must look into whether ADHD leads to substance abuse, or whether the treatment of ADHD (with drugs like Adderall and Ritalin) plays a role.

In a Vice article, Niall Greene explained how he was not aware of his ADHD for most of his life. He just knew he constantly needed stimulation throughout the day. Soon, that stimulation emerged in the form of drinking and drugs. From the time he was 15, he blacked out every time he drank. By his 20s, he was doing cocaine compulsively and would sometimes take five ecstasy tablets at a time.

He says he was not doing this for fun. He was doing it out of desperation.

By 18, Greene moved to New York where he “spent every penny on drinking.” After bouncing from city to city, Greene realized he could not maintain a job. Nothing in his life was stable. He was spending all his money on gambling and alcohol.

Finally, he entered rehab where he met with a psychiatrist who diagnosed him with ADHD. It was the first time anyone had mentioned the disorder to him.  Greene looked everywhere for information on how to deal with adult ADHD, but there was little to be found.

Does Adult ADHD Even Exist?

That’s because until recently, Adult ADHD was not “thought to exist,” according to Dr. Howard Schubiner, an expert, and researcher on the disorder.

“It was thought to be a disorder of children that dissolved when they hit puberty,” he notes.

The CDC estimates that 6.4 million children ages four to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD in the United States. But then those kids grow up.

Now, doctors are realizing that ADHD is not something that simply goes away with age. Some 4.4 percent of adults in America struggle with ADHD, which in 2000, cost the United States $31.6 billion in health care costs and lost work hours.

The complex part of the epidemic is that ADHD manifests in a variety of ways in adulthood. While hyperactivity is commonly associated with ADHD, this does seem to lessen into adulthood. However, inattentiveness does not.

“It’s still there, but kind of internalized,” Schubiner says.

One way it internalizes is through addiction. In a 2005 study, 20-40 percent of adult children with ADHD had a history of substance abuse.

Studies show that people with ADHD typically turn to drugs as a way of making up for the deficit of dopamine in their brains. Still, Schubiner and other researchers question whether common treatments for ADHD—stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin—may also lead to the addiction spiral.

For now, there is no evidence to confirm this.

“There’s very little evidence that treating ADHD increases the risk for cigarette or substance abuse—it reduces the risk,” says Wilens.

A study of 25,000 ADHD patients noticed a downward trend in criminal behavior (including drug-related offenses) after those with ADHD took medication to treat the disorder.

“The signals seem to say if you continue on your medicine, there probably is a continued reduction in the risk [of substance abuse],” Wilens says. “At the very least, it doesn’t worsen the risk.”

“I think everybody in the field agrees, if you can get a toehold on the addiction, you should think about treating the ADHD relatively quickly,” he says. “If you treat ADHD aggressively and you monitor for substance abuse, you’re going to reduce [delinquency].”

After Greene was diagnosed with ADHD and completed treatment, he says he finally found stability. However, he struggles to spread awareness because Adult ADHD comes with a stigma.

“It’s like the black sheep of mental health conditions,” he says.

Last year, Jerome Kagan, Psychologist, and Professor at Harvard University debunked the existence of ADHD altogether:

“(ADHD) is an invention. Every child who’s not doing well in school is sent to see a pediatrician, and the pediatrician says: “It’s ADHD; here’s Ritalin.” In fact, 90 percent of these 5.4 million (ADHD-diagnosed) kids don’t have an abnormal dopamine metabolism. The problem is, if a drug is available to doctors, they’ll make the corresponding diagnosis.”

Kagan believes ADHD is over diagnosed, and says most people simply need guidance.

However, for Greene, this was far from the case. Treating his ADHD helped him to feel in control for the first time in his life. Three years ago, Greene started Adult ADHD NI, a nonprofit dedicated to aiding other adults across Northern Ireland with the disorder. His mission is to help others struggling like he once was, regardless of those who think ADHD does not exist.

“I embrace the challenge,” he says.


There clearly is a relationship between ADHD and substance use disorder. The question is, how did we address it? If you had either conditions and are struggling, please reach out for help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

 

Gucci Mane Reflects on PTSD and Past Drug Addiction Struggles

Gucci Mane Reflects on PTSD and Past Drug Addiction Struggles

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

 Author: Shernide Delva

Rapper Gucci Mane recently opened up about his struggles with mental health. He discussed his past drug use and decision to get sober in a new interview with ESPN’s Highly Confidential. The 36-year-old also talked about his experience developing PTSD after he was robbed by assailants in 2005.

The rapper, born Radric Davis, said his involvement in the 2005 murder of Henry Lee Clark led to him developing PTSD. Gucci Mane maintains that he did shoot the man, but says it was pure self-defense. The murder charges against him were eventually dropped. The stress of that incident along with the pressure of his music career exacerbated his mental health issues, he admits.

Guilty On Federal Gun Possession Charge

Although Gucci was found not guilty regarding the 2005 murder case, eventually he would find himself behind bars. Eight years later, Gucci was caught with possession of an illegal fire arm.

In December 2013, Gucci faced a possibility of 20 years behind bars. He was charged with two counts of possessing a firearm as a felon. He opened up about his anxiety and paranoia that manifested during this time.

“I felt like I was gonna kill somebody, for trying to kill me,” said Gucci. “I was never afraid. I just kinda, in my mind I felt like someone was going to try to hurt me, try to rob me, do something to force my hand and defend myself and hurt them.”

Prior to entering jail, Gucci says he had a daily routine of using a variety of substances including alcohol and lean (a mixture of soda and codeine/promethazine-based cough syrup).  He ended up going through withdrawals behind bars which Gucci admits made him feel “like death.” However, his motivation to stay sober finally set in during his sentence.

When I was facing 20, 30 years and it was almost on the table, it kind of got worked out where I could only do three years. I felt like I could manage it. I could still have a career when I got out and not lose my whole life. It was like, ‘Let me fix my life,” he said.

“I had time to sit back and evaluate everything, and also dry out from the drugs … I tried to make the time work for me the best I could,” he went on.

“I didn’t want to live the rest of my life in prison. So I was like, one thing that I need to do is be totally sober. I need to have complete clarity. I need to have razor sharp focus on everything I do, every day from when I wake up to when I go to sleep. After you start doing it for like a year, then it turns to two years. Once I got out and start doing it, it makes me a better person, a better artist, it makes me all the way stronger.”

Maintaining His Commitment To Sobriety

In May, after serving three years, Gucci was released from prison. After his sentence, Gucci dropped his album Everybody Looking. More importantly, Gucci continued to stay sober, something he says is an “empowering” feat.

“It’s an extravagant lifestyle I live. And to me it’s kinda being even more cocky. I love to tell somebody, ‘Hey listen, I don’t do drugs. I’m sorry baby, but I don’t want anything to drink. I’ll take a water,’” he said last fall. “I’m proud of doing it. I like doing it. I hope people follow my example.”

Were you aware of Gucci Mane’s drug past? Drug culture is rampant among celebrity culture, and unfortunately the entertainment industry tends to glorify drug use. Time and time again, we see celebrities cycle in and out of treatment. In the past year, we have loss some of our most treasured celebrities to drug-related incidents.

With drug overdoses at an all-time high, should public figures feel responsible? Regardless, the message is clear at this point. The dangers of drugs and alcohol are not anything to glorify. The amount of drug overdoses continues to peak each year. If you are struggling, understand that your addiction does not have to be a component of your life anymore. Please call now. Do not wait.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

 

The Connection Between Foster Care and Drug Addiction

 

The Connection Between Foster Care and Drug Addiction

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

The narrative of the orphan child has never been a positive one. We’ve all seen movies about it.  Abandoned children struggle with mental illness, emotional distress and sadly, many fall into addiction. The nation’s drug-addiction epidemic is excelling the number of children enter foster care. Many states must take urgent steps to care for neglected children. Unfortunately, there are too many and the numbers only continue to rise.

The problem is addicts often neglect, abandon or mistreat their children. Several states such as New Hampshire and Vermont made laws to make it possible to pull children out of homes with addicted parents, or states increased budgets to hire more social workers to deal with the emerging crisis.

Other states like Alaska, Kansas and Ohio have issued emergency pleas for more people to foster neglected children, many of them infants, into their homes.

“We’re definitely in a crisis, and we don’t see an end in sight any time soon,” said Angela Sausser, executive director of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, a coalition of public child safety agencies in the state.

Life as a Child in Foster Care

Sadly, these children grow up and have a high risk of having a drug addiction. According to a 2016 study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 35% of older youth in foster care have a substance use disorder.

While there is no universally accepted cause of drug addiction, one theory commonly accepted is a relief from physical, mental, and emotional pain. There are emotions foster youth feel on a regular basis. Foster youth are ripped from their families and put into state care due to neglect or abuse. Those two words—neglect, abuse—result in an array of emotional and physical realities. These realities must be addressed.

Lisa Marie Basile was a foster youth from age 14 to 19. She is a successful edited and writer in New York who wrote the poetry book Apocryphal. She discussed her thoughts in an interview in The Fix:

“The narrative of the foster youth has been hijacked by this idea that foster youth are just losers. Like it’s inherent, expected. The thing is, something has been done to them. I wish more people understood the loneliness,” she explained.

The Numbers Are Now Increasing

For a while, the number of children in foster care was decreasing. The enormous increase in parental drug abuse is driving the number of foster care youth up at an incredible pace. As of 2014, the number was at 3.5%. In San Diego, more and more babies are in need of foster care placement, and many infants are born addicted to drug. Not only are these babies born experiencing withdrawals, they also have a long-term risk for medical, developmental, emotional and behavioral hardship. Furthermore, they are an extremely high risk for addiction.

There are programs out there to help these children, but they have to reach out for it. The first step is admitting the addiction. This is the exact reason why many addicts are stuck. Lisa Basile says she made her way through foster care without using, however once she reached college, she began to overindulge in drinking.

 “I drank a lot more than most college students. And that behavior—day drunk, wine for lunch—stayed with me for a while after college. It became less about partying and way more about numbing everything out so I could get through college without facing my tragedies.”

The Emotional Aftermath

The issue lies in the emotional toll the foster care process can have on these children. The National Institute of Mental Health states that that foster youth have a high risk conduct disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Youth with PTSD or conduct disorder are found to have the “the “highest risk for substance use and disorder.”

What is PTSD? PTSD is defined by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) as “requir[ing] that children have experienced, witnessed, or learned of a traumatic event, defined as one that is terrifying, shocking, and potentially threatening to life, safety, or physical integrity of self or others.”

It is clear by this definition why foster children are likely PTSD sufferers and why they are more at risk for addiction rather than just drug experimentation.  Foster children are often born in situations where their basis needs are ignored and where their emotional wounds remained unhealed.

There is Hope

With the right resources, children in these situations can be granted the opportunity to change their future. Everyone involved plays a role. From teachers, therapists, volunteers and neighbor, the right person providing the right connection can turn things around.

Foster children and addiction may go hand in hand, but that does not mean anyone’s situation is hopeless. There is not an excuse for changing your future. If you were brought up in an unfortunate situation, there is still time to shift the direction of your life. If you or anyone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Delray Beach Sees Record-Breaking 88 Overdoses in October

Record-Breaking 88 Overdoses Reported in Delray for Month of October

Author: Shernide Delva

If you think the addiction epidemic is getting any better, think again. The total number of overdoses in Delray Beach, FL topped off at a record-breaking 88 for the month of October. That number includes the five additional heroin overdoses documented over Halloween weekend. Out of those 88 overdoses, 11 died, police say.

“Eleven fatalities in a month, that’s a lot of people,” said Kevin Saxton, Delray Beach Fire Rescue spokesman. “We just really want people paying attention. If you see something, say something.”

The city-wide heroin epidemic had no seasonal pattern, but for some reason, October saw a record-breaking number of overdoses and fatalities from apparent heroin use. The numbers from October tops the previous record high by 22 overdoses.

Putting it in Perspective

To recap, over the Haloween weekend, there were five overdoses. Fortunately, none were fatal. The weekend prior, 11 overdoses were reported. These numbers seem unusually high. City police and fire rescue have suggested the spike might be because of a new, more potent heroin mixture on the market. Patients have been known to mix heroin with painkillers and other drugs.

It’s just related to what’s out on the streets right now … (Users) think they’re buying heroin, but it’s anybody’s guess what they’re actually getting,” Sgt. Paul Weber told The Palm Beach Post in mid-October. “Your next dose of heroin could be your last.”

Out of the 88 overdoses reported in the month of October, 11 resulted in fatalities. The previous record high was in July with 66 overdoses, seven of which were fatal. With the surge of overdoses in the city, the use of naloxone is more critical than ever.

“We’re having to give higher and higher doses of Narcan,” said Kevin Saxton, spokesman for Delray Beach Fire Rescue. “Sometimes we give all of the doses we’re allowed to in our protocols and still see no results.”

History of Drug Deaths in Delray Beach, Florida

This is not the first time Delray Beach has received attention for substance abuse cases. Over the course of January 2014 to October of 2015, the Delray Beach Fire Rescue services alone administered naloxone in 341 cases. The majority of these overdoses were from heroin.

Of course, the problem is not just in Delray Beach. Plenty of areas in Palm Beach County are getting hit hard by the opioid epidemic. In more northern regions of Florida like West Palm Beach, officials have also seen a spike in heroin overdose deaths. Furthermore, cities around the United States, specifically areas of Ohio are seeing insane numbers on a routine basis.

Combating Overdoses With Naloxone

Back in March 2016, there was a report stating Delray Beach police were armed with Naloxone. Delray Beach firefighters are also keeping naloxone handy. Overdose calls are being reported both in private and public locations.

Opioids like heroin, oxycodone, and morphine work by blocking pain receptors. Naloxone quickly turns those pain receptors back on. The problem with this is the normalcy only lasts about 30-90 minutes. Therefore, many are rushed to the emergency room after they are administered the naloxone.

Furthermore, naloxone, branded as Narcan,  is not always effective. In some cases, it will not revive a person from an overdose. In the worst case scenario, naloxone will do nothing, but in the best case scenario, it will save a life. Because of the potential to save lives, there has been an increased effort to widen access to the drug. Recently, Palm Beach County hosted training to teach the public on how to administer naloxone.

With the increase in overdoses across the country, it is more important than ever to raise awareness and ensure more people have access to naloxone. More importantly, anyone struggling with addiction should seek help before they get to the point of an overdose. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free. We want to help. You are not alone.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

 

 

Shia LaBeouf Talks Giving Up Alcohol

drinking alone

Author: Shernide Delva

Whether you remember him from Even Stevens, or from Transformers, Shia LaBeouf has had a long career so far in Hollywood. In his twenties, he scored a role with Steven Spielberg on the fourth Indiana Jones and soon was the face of the Transformers film franchise.

At the beginning, things seemed to be going great. Then, all began to change. A slew of arrests garnered LaBeouf some negative media attention. He was ordered to six months of court-ordered outpatient alcohol rehab. Suddenly, LaBeouf was becoming more known for his erratic behavior than his acting skills.

The old’ “troubled” actor narrative is all too familiar . Nevertheless, Shia LeBeouf is confident that he is on the right track. He has reinvented himself on his terms. In a recent interview, the 30-year-old revealed the circumstances that led to his downward spiral and how he is recovering from that turbulent period in his life.

Adjusting to Hollywood

LaBeouf admits starring on the Disney Channel series Even Stevens never felt quite right.  He did not feel connected to the Disney brand. He and his friends “were outsiders” and “it felt distant” from his reality.  Furthermore, LaBeouf talked about his humble beginning in Echo Park, where he was raised by his mother:

“We didn’t have nothing. So I would steal Pokemon video games and Tamagotchis,” he said.

While filming Even Stevens, LaBeouf stayed with his Father in a hotel. He remembers that “there were drugs everywhere—marijuana, cocaine, heroin. [My dad] gave me my first joint when I was probably 11 or 12.”

Labeouf continued to star in films like Tru Confessions and Holes. Then, 2007 happened, and suddenly LaBeouf was making mainstream hits such as Disturbia and the first of the Transformer franchise. The following year, the much anticipated Indiana. Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was released, although it had mixed reviews.

Downward Spiral: Giving Up Alcohol

Despite the commercial success of the film, LaBeouf said he felt disillusioned working on the big budget movies and called Spielberg “less a director than he is a fucking company.”  His comments about Spielberg were criticized heavilly in the media.

Not too long after, LaBeouf began drinking heavily.

“Part of it was posturing. I never knew how to drink. I never liked to drink, but I knew you had to drink,” he told the magazine. “It was a weird post-modern fascination with the fuck-ups.”

With all the chaos surrounding his drinking, LaBeouf had to accept the effect alcohol had on him.

“I got a Napoleonic complex. I start drinking and I feel smaller than I am, and I get louder than I should. It’s just not for me, dude.”

LaBeouf says he has not had a drink for about a year now. He regularly attends AA meetings but does not consider himself an addict.

“You don’t touch it,” he said. “Alcohol or any of that shit will send you haywire. I can’t fuck with none of it. I’ve got to keep my head low.”

LaBeouf’s commitment to sobriety has allowed the actor to make a turnaround in his career. American Honey,  which debuted at Cannes Film Festival in the spring, so far has been well received. LaBeouf is currently shooting Borg vs. McEnroe, a film about the rivalry between tennis stars Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. We applaud LaBeouf’s commitment to sobriety and his story is one many in recovery can relate to.

Remember, the road to recovery is not easy. However, like LaBeouf, once you realize how detrimental your life is abusing substances, you will know it is time to make a change. The good news is you do not have to do it on your own. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

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