Alcohol and ADHD Treatment

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Alcoholism and ADHD are two issues that often go hand in hand for teens and adults. But the reason for this connection may not be quite what you think. Many people think that it is the medications from ADHD that lead to alcohol and other drug abuse in the patient. However, most of the people who abuse alcohol and have ADHD are either not diagnosed or they choose not to use the medication and resort to using alcohol instead.

It is common for individuals who suffer from ADHD to resort to alcohol. And because of the way that the alcohol reacts with their brains, it can quickly go from a small problem to something that takes over their lives. When this happens, the patient will need to look for alcohol and ADHD treatment options to help them get over the problem and get healthier again.

It is best to choose an alcohol and ADHD rehab facility that is able to work on both problems at the same time as part of dual diagnosis treatment. This ensures that the patient is getting help with both problems. If only one condition is treated and the other is ignored, it can lead to a higher risk of relapse in the patient. Many treatment centers are able to work on healing both conditions.

What is ADHD?

ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a type of mental health condition. There are many symptoms that will show up with ADHD, including impulsivity and hyperactivity. These can both turn into triggers for drug and alcohol abuse if they are not treated well. Those who do not get diagnosed or treated for their symptoms of ADHD are much more likely to abuse alcohol and will need to consider alcohol and ADHD treatment.

How Common is ADHD and Alcohol Abuse?

ADHD and alcohol abuse are actually more common than many people realize. In fact, it is estimated that about 1/3 of the children who get an ADHD diagnosis will continue to have problems with this same disorder as they enter their adult years. Research has also found that close to 25% of the adults who are dealing with alcohol abuse also suffer from ADHD.

Children who have ADHD, especially if it is untreated, are more likely to start abusing alcohol when they enter into their teen years. And when the alcohol abuse begins, they are going to continue to abuse the substance as they age. About 22% of children who never get diagnosed with ADHD will go on to abuse alcohol by the time they are 14. That number increases to 25% for those children who do suffer from ADHD.

This is a particularly bad problem because when an individual suffers from alcohol abuse as a teenager, they are more likely to continue that abuse as an adult. This can lead to a strong dependence on the alcohol that will not be treated until they enter a treatment facility.

Can Alcohol Abuse Affect ADHD?

Many people who have ADHD and abuse alcohol and other substances tend to gravitate to drinking as a means to self-medicate. This means that they are looking for ways to cope with the symptoms of ADHD and find that alcohol will be an effective way to handle the disorder.

Alcohol is considered a depressant, which means that it is able slow down the brain. Since ADHD causes the brain to be hyperactive and it struggles to slow down, the depressant of alcohol can provide some relief, making it easier for the individual with ADHD to finally slow down.

However, when alcohol abuse happens, the opposite will happen. Even though they may feel like their thoughts are no longer racing, they will still lack when it comes to focus and concentration when they use alcohol as a treatment for ADHD. This can result in the individual binging alcohol to alleviate some of their symptoms. This makes their thinking worse, which causes them to continue to drink to reach a balance.

The overall result is that those who use alcohol as a way to self-treat their ADHD will quickly become addicted to the alcohol and still not see any of the relief that they want. They need to seek treatment for both conditions to help them feel better and resume a normal life.

Treating Both ADHD and Alcohol Abuse

It is important to understand that if you suffer from ADHD and have alcoholism, you will need to take the time to treat both disorders at the same time. Treating the ADHD alone will not treat the alcoholism and treating the alcoholism along will not treat the ADHD. If one or the other is untreated, it is more likely that a relapse will happen again.

Most dual diagnosis treatment facilities will be able to treat both conditions together. Patients should consider looking at treatment centers that are able to handle both the ADHD and the alcoholism.

Make sure that you spend some time with a psychiatrist when you first enter the treatment facility. Several patients who are admitted for alcohol abuse may find out that they have ADHD that was never diagnosed in the past. This may be news to them, but could help to explain some of their issues with substance abuse. The treatment facility will be able to treat both problems regardless of whether you have a diagnosis for ADHD or not.

What Alcohol and ADHD Treatments are Available to Me?

There are a number of treatment centers available for treating alcohol and ADHD at the same time. You can choose to go to a specialty treatment center that is specifically designed to treat both alcohol abuse and ADHD. These centers are called dual diagnosis treatment centers and they include professionals who have the right knowledge and skills to help patients who need to get through both of these issues to prevent a relapse and to regain control over their lives again.

However, if there is not a specialized treatment center for both of these conditions in your area, an alcohol abuse rehab center can do the work too. Many of these rehabs will work with patients to figure out their mental health and see if there are any co-occurring disorders that are present in addition to the alcohol abuse. They will then work with the patient through therapy, medication, and other programs, to help the patient get the help they need for the substance abuse and ADHD at the same time.

How Long Will I Need to Stay at an ADHD and Alcohol Treatment Center?

Each patient will be different when it comes to the amount of time they need to go with a treatment center. Since this treatment has to help with ADHD and with alcohol abuse, it is often better to stick with a treatment center that will have a longer duration treatment program. This gives the patient more time away from their triggers and additional time working through the potential problems they face with these dual disorders.

Most alcohol abuse and ADHD treatment centers are going to offer inpatient treatment for 30, 60, or 90 days. This gives you some options to work through the abuse problems and get the help that you need. Some patients who are early on in the abuse may be able to work with the shorter treatment times. Research has shown that the longer treatment times are much more effective.

A 30-day program is a good place to start for people with ADHD and alcohol use disorder. It gives them a full month of getting treatment and time to withdraw from the alcohol as well. For those who can’t be away from work or families for longer periods of time, 30-days can be a good way to get control over the alcohol abuse. Therapy and other counseling will often continue to happen after treatment to help the patient with their ADHD.

Another option to go with is a 60 day program. These programs can provide more support and more help to the patient compared to working with just the 30-day program. For patients who have struggled with the alcohol abuse for a long time and who may just be learning about their ADHD, the longer treatment process will be a good idea. The patient will get more time working through their triggers, understanding the ADHD, and getting some of the help that they need. Sobriety is a lifelong journey so even those who do the longer program will still get assistance and support when they leave.

Some patients will need to go through a longer term treatment option. There are 90-day programs that those with alcohol abuse and ADHD are able to go to. 90 day rehab programs are ideal for those who have failed a program in the past or who may not have the best home life or a safe place to go when they are done with the treatment. This gives the patient lots of time to be away from the negative influences and will help them to heal and fight off the addiction.

While all three of these rehabilitation options can be effective at helping with ADHD and alcohol abuse treatment, studies have shown that the longer-term options will be the most effective. If the patient has the ability to stay for longer to receive treatment, it will prove beneficial to their health and success.

Treatment Process

There are several treatment options available for patients who suffer with ADHD and alcohol abuse. The treatment facility will often work with both of the disorders at the same time to provide relief and help the patient get back on track.

After admittance, it is common for the alcohol and ADHD rehab center to work with withdrawal first. This will help the patient get the alcohol out of their system so they can work through the rest of the treatment. It also ensures that the alcohol is not able to interfere with any of the medications the patient may need to go on later to treat the symptoms of ADHD.

The withdrawal will often take a few days and up to a week to complete. This allows the patient to get the alcohol out of their system so they can move on to the rest. They will be under constant supervision of medical professionals in case the symptoms worsen or they need additional help.

The patient will need to go through various forms of therapy during their treatment. These alcohol abuse and ADHD rehab treatment centers will have therapy available for all patients. The goal is to help the patient understand why they fell into the abuse and what some of their triggers are for abusing the substance.

Therapy will also happen for the ADHD symptoms as well. This gives the patient the tools they need to balance the ADHD. The exact way that the therapy is administered may depend on whether the patient knew they had ADHD before they entered the facility or not. Many patients will be given medication to treat the symptoms of ADHD, making it easier to feel relief without the alcohol.

Once the treatment for alcoholism and ADHD is done, the patient will be able to leave the treatment facility. This will often include support to help them after they are finished with the program. They may continue therapy and most will continue to stick with their medication. They will hold all of the tools necessary to help them deal with the ADHD so they will not turn back to their alcohol abuse later on.

Getting Support for Both Problems

Since alcoholism and ADHD are so closely linked in the patient, they need to be treated at the same time. It is not possible to work on one of these issues and not the other. When the patient enters an alcohol and ADHD dual diagnosis treatment center, they will be welcomed by professionals who will work to provide support for both conditions. This helps ensure success for the patient and can lead them on the path to fighting back against the alcohol abuse, remaining sober, and finally dealing with the symptoms of ADHD that may have plagued them and made life difficult for so long.