Teenagers with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have higher rates of substance abuse and cigarette use than their peers without ADHD, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
At an average age of 15, 35 percent of the adolescents with ADHD in the study reported using at least one substance, compared with 20 percent of those without ADHD, said lead author Brooke Molina, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. About 10 percent of those with ADHD met criteria for a diagnosis of substance abuse disorder or dependence. About 17 percent of the ADHD group smoked cigarettes, twice the rate (8 percent) of teens without ADHD.
“As researchers and practitioners, we need to do a better job of helping parents and schools address these risk factors that are so common for children with ADHD,” Molina said.