Teens who have ADHD are twice as likely as other kids to smoke, drink, or use drugs. What’s the connection — and what can you do to prevent your child from engaging in such risky behavior?
By Allison Takeda
THURSDAY, Oct. 27, 2011 — Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a new set of recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. For the first time ever, the guidelines included information on preschoolers (4- to 5-year-olds) and adolescents (13- to 18-year-olds), with notes about special circumstances and complications specific to kids in those age groups. One such complication: the risk of substance abuse in teens with ADHD.
Research shows that young people who have ADHD are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as reckless driving, sexual relations, and drug and alcohol use. In fact, according to a report in the journal Clinical Psychology Review, boys and girls with ADHD are two to three times more likely than their peers to smoke, drink, or abuse drugs. When psychologists at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of South Carolina reviewed data from 27 studies on 4,100 kids with ADHD, they found that a third of them developed serious “social issues” — including substance abuse — over the course of a decade.
What’s the Link Between ADHD and Substance Abuse?
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