Is ADHD linked to substance abuse? There’s strong connection between them, study finds

Published by: The Herald Sun
Written by: Karina Muzhukhina

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be linked to substance abuse, a new study found.

The study, set to be published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, found that even when accounting for age, race, income, education, childhood adversities and mental illnesses aside from ADHD, people aged 20 to 39 and diagnosed with ADHD were 69% more likely to have a substance use disorder than those without ADHD.

Around half of people with ADHD will have a substance abuse disorder, the study found, compared to only about 23.6% of adults without ADHD.

Researchers collected data from the Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health and analyzed findings from 270 people between the ages of 20 to 39 with ADHD and 6,602 people without the disorder.

About 36% of adults with ADHD reported abusing alcohol, followed by cannabis — with about 23% of adults with ADHD abusing the substance. Those with ADHD “were also three times more likely to experience an illicit drug disorder” — not counting marijuana — compared to those without the disorder. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders Among Children with Intellectual Disability


The study examined the prevalence, stability and characteristics pf ASD in children diagnosed with an intellectual disability.


The methodology used to assess the prevalence of ASD in children diagnoses with an intellectual disability identified 2,208 children through the South Carolina Autism and Developmental Disabilities Network. The data reviewed was done in threes phases including screening, extraction and case evaluation. The process included screening each child’s clinical  records, and public school information. Records were abstracted that included information on diagnoses, behavior descriptors and characteristics. The records were then evaluated for both an intellectual disability and autism status.


  • Rates of ASD in intellectual disabilities were substantially higher than ASD rates reported in the general U.S. population
  • Rates demonstrated elevated and increasing rates of ASD within diagnosis of an intellectual disability.
  • These efforts are warranted to reduce public health costs and support individual well-being for the approximately 24% of people with an intellectual disability who also meet the ASD criteria.


Tonnsen, B.L.; Boan, A.D.; Bradley, CC.; Charles, J.; Cohen, A.; Carpenter, L.A (2016). Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders Among Children with Intellectual Disability. American Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. 121 (6). 487-500

Functional Outcomes of Strength Training in Spastic Cerebral Palsy


The purpose of this study is to det4rmine the clinical effectiveness of stregnth training in children diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy.


Participants included children with cerebral palsy between the ages of 6 to 12 years old. All of the participants were patients at a children’s rehabilitation center. Six of the children  were diagnosed with spastic diplegia and were limited in walking and also demonstrated less than 50% of normal muscle strength. The remining participants (5)  had spastic hemiplegia and demonstrated 20% strength in at least two muscles across extremities.

The participants participated in a 6-week strength training program including pre and post strength training evaluation on eight muscles groups in both lower extremities using a hand-held  dynamometer, 3D gait analysis.


The researcher found:

  • That each group identified had a significant strength gains in the muscles targeted.
  • The entire group had higher gait velocity
  • Asymmetry in strength improved in hemiplegia
  • Short-term strength training programs demonstrated positive- functional outcomes.

Damiano, D.L,; Abel, M.F. (1998). Functional Outcomes of Strength Training in Spastic Cerebral Palsy Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 79. 119-25

Genetic Syndromes Associated with Congenital Heart Disease


Studies show that approximately 30% of congenital heart disease is related to genetic syndromes. awareness of these genetic syndromes can help in the planning of the individual’s care management.

The following are common genetic syndromes associated with congenital heart disease:

Down Syndrome. Studies show that congenital heart disease occurs in 40-50% of individuals with Down syndrome specifically atrioventricular canal defects. It is suggested that echocardiograms should be performed at diagnosis.

Turner Syndrome. Heart issues are common in 24-45% of girls diagnosed with Turner syndrome. The most common abnormalities are bicuspid aortic valve (16%). The researcher suggests that all Turner patients should have a baseline cardiologic exam.

22q11.2 deletion Syndrome.  In most cases, congenital heart defects is the cause of death. It is recommended that both an EKG and and EEG be done at the time of the diagnosis with ongoing follow-up.

Williams Syndrome. Approximately 75-80% of individuals born with Williams syndrome have a cardiac malformation. Hypertension is often developed in about 50% of people with Williams syndrome and continues to increase overtime.


Ko, JM (2015). Genetic Syndromes Associated with Congenital Heart Disease.  The Korean Society of Cardiology. 45 (5) 357-361

The Impact of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Adulthood: a Qualitative Study


There is limited evidence of the unmet needs and experiences of adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Previous research in this area is predominately quantitative by nature. few studies employing qualitative approaches. this study seeks to provide deeper insight into the lived experiences of adults with ADHD.


  • It is important for clincians and practitioners to be aware of the perceived positive and negative effects of the disorder and how it can impact on their patents lives.
  • Further research in this area should explore patient’s attitudes toward receiving a formal diagnosis.


Watters, C.; Adamis, D.; McNicholas, F.; Garvin, B. (2017). The Impact of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Adulthood: a Qualitative Study.  Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine doi: 101017 1-7