ADHD & Alcohol: Why You Might Struggle

Did you know that there is a connection between ADHD and alcohol? It may be surprising to learn that people with ADHD are more likely to abuse alcohol than those without the disorder. In this blog post, we will discuss the link between ADHD and alcohol abuse, and what can be done to help those who struggle with addiction.

Table of Contents

ADHD & Alcohol: Why You Might Struggle

1. Is Alcohol the Best Way to Get Rid of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

2. Alcoholism Might Affect Your ADHD Symptoms

3. What Happens After You've Had Too Much to Drink?

4. Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

5. Conclusion

ADHD & Alcohol FAQs

ADHD and Alcohol: Will It Be A Perfect Mix?

Studies show that there is an increased risk of alcohol abuse in young adults with ADHD. According to the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, there is a bidirectional link between ADHD and substance use disorders. But, what are the underlying mental health issues with regards to ADHD and its relationship to alcohol?

The most typical symptoms of ADHD are restlessness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. People that have these symptoms may find it difficult to concentrate and focus on particular activities at times. They tend to have trouble with behavioral self-control and logical thinking.

ADHD can manifest itself physically, emotionally, and mentally. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has always been linked to some comorbid disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders. When adults with ADHD experience some of these comorbidities, it can affect their lives in several ways.

If a person with ADHD is not surrounded by functioning emotional support, they might turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of handling their mental health problems. This can be considered as a form of self-medication because it is an attempt to ease or eliminate some symptoms associated with ADHD through alcohol misuse. The intention for ADHD treatment might be there, but it may impose additional risk factors that may hamper a person's chance of having a more stable lifestyle.

People with ADHD can struggle with alcohol

Is Alcohol the Best Way to Get Rid of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

When we are clouded by our emotions, most of us turn to alcohol to wash away our worries and anxiety. There are times that we use alcohol to avoid social awkwardness and blend in with others, or we binge drink until we pass out if we have restless and hyperactive thoughts.

ADHD social anxiety drinking too much

Most people with ADHD manage their symptoms through alcohol consumption and think that there won't be potentially dangerous pharmacological effects on them, especially when they are on ADHD medication. Some moments combining ADHD medications and alcohol misuse produces adverse effects not only on our system but the way we think and behave.

ADHD binge drinking

There's an increased risk that substance use such as alcohol might make it far worse than actually treating adults with ADHD. Substance abuse may be defined as a 'pattern of excessive use of a substance wherein there is an impaired control over behavior and the continued use to pathological levels despite adverse consequences.' This condition may result in a drug abuse problem that can impair our emotional functioning and may cause side effects that are dangerous to one's health.

ADHD addiction alcohol

Alcoholism Might Affect Your ADHD Symptoms

During early adulthood, individuals with ADHD may have misused substances or had problems with alcohol. In their opinion, drinking has a beneficial influence on them for a short time without recognizing the consequences or dangers it may bring.

Impulsive behaviors brought by peer pressure might be hard to resist especially if the person has ADHD. Because of this, young adults with ADHD might be forced to have earlier alcohol use because they are in an environment where drinking is rampant. Adolescent alcohol drinking may be associated with ADHD because their impulsivity and novelty-seeking behavior can trigger such conditions.

On occasion, alcohol affects the functioning of an ADHD brain. It can cause significant behavioral and emotional changes. The majority of people use alcohol as a means of breaking down their inhibitions, which makes them less nervous about social situations such as going to parties or meeting new individuals. Impulsive behaviors from alcoholism and ADHD may lead to poor judgment, violent behavior, and other negative consequences.

On the other side, alcohol sometimes might have a beneficial impact on an individual with ADHD if they use it excessively. Because alcohol dulls our ability to move and think logically, we become sleepy without having racing thoughts. However, you must binge drink and consume a large quantity of alcohol before reaching that calm state.

ADHD alcohol dopamine

What Happens After You've Had Too Much to Drink?

If you are struggling with a variety of alcohol use disorders, such as early-adult binge drinking, then you must be concerned and on the lookout for substance abuse. Alcohol consumption might only be the start of something far worse.

Substance abuse is not only bound by alcoholic beverages, there are other drugs out there that produce similar effects. With this, alcohol use might just be the gateway for other more serious drug dependencies. Binge drinking produces alcohol dependence and tolerance that may lead to drug addiction to satisfy your body's cravings or mask ADHD symptoms. Marijuana involvement and illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and ecstasy are just some of the other substances that may cause drug dependencies.

Help alcohol drinking ADHD

These are only possibilities that can happen if we fail to manage ADHD symptoms and alcohol consumption. Subsequent substance abuse may occur and if we fail to have ways to effectively treat these conditions, we may have further complications not only on our lifestyle and health but also in socializing with other people. Earlier alcohol prevention strategies can be applied to adults with ADHD not only for the sake of their health but also to prevent future substance use that may lead to other unnecessary risks.

ADHD adult drinking problem

Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Although certain types of ADHD and alcohol may sometimes complement one another, a higher proportion of individuals with ADHD develop alcohol use disorders and substance abuse. A dual diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Substance Use Disorder may be difficult to treat but with proper medications and cognitive therapy, you will be able to have a much better life.

If you are an adult who is searching for information on ADHD alcohol use disorder treatment centers, then it is advisable to look online for reputable sources. You can also ask people with similar problems about the best facilities they know so that you will have more options. Developing coping skills on this mental health condition can be learned through the experience of others. Some resources can be used in effectively treating ADHD and alcoholism. Here are some tips that you might want to consider to prevent yourself from substance abuse while having ADHD symptoms:

  • Get a proper ADHD diagnosis. Learning your neurodivergent condition and all the characteristics and ADHD symptoms you may experience will get you prepared for your battle. It is easier to treat something you know, than something you are not aware of.
  • Learning you have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can lead you to ADHD groups that can help set up coping skills for your condition. People with ADHD have different experiences from yours so you may want to listen to them and know more about their conditions.
  • If as a young adult, you are used to alcohol consumption, try as much as possible to limit yourself and break the habit of earlier alcohol use. Taking alcohol in moderation can lessen the chances of alcohol use disorder.
  • Adults with ADHD symptoms that already have Alcohol Use Disorder may subject themselves to cognitive therapies that can lessen their alcohol dependency. Cognitive therapy is a form of psychotherapy that helps patients understand the motivations for certain behaviors and how these may affect their decision-making process.
  • If you are on ADHD treatment and taking ADHD medication, ask your mental health professional or clinical psychologist if you are allowed to consume alcohol. Knowing this would prevent you from complications that may arise if an ADHD medication and alcohol are taken at the same time.
  • Limit your exposure to situations that will require drinking alcoholic beverages especially if you know that the outcome of these events is not going to be favorable for you.
  • Remember that after alcohol use disorder, if not taken seriously, substance abuse begins. Know the consequences of both and take steps to avoid them. Be educated regarding substance abuse and its effects on you, your body, and the people around you.
  • If you feel like there is no way out when it comes to substance abuse, then take an alcohol intervention approach with your family and peers to show that you are serious about your condition. This can help encourage someone who thinks they cannot change their ways because of the stigma attached to the conditions.
  • You must find ways how to prevent yourself from having alcohol use disorder while having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms. It may never be easy but with a lot of self-control, practice, and determination, you can be sure to have a much better life for yourself.
  • Alcohol consumption and ADHD may not be the best combination but it is something that can be treated. If you are an adult with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and your mental health professional puts you on a treatment regimen, do not hesitate in taking it.
  • Get enough support as you can if you are suffering from ADHD alcohol use disorder. It is not something you should take lightly because the possible consequences are too heavy for your shoulders to carry alone. 

Help ADHD addiction


Adult ADHD symptoms can be hard as it is. Alcohol impairment can also be a great problem on its own. Together, if not taken seriously might cause worse outcomes such as substance use disorder or the use of illicit drugs that can worsen underlying mental health issues. But with proper ADHD treatment and moderation of alcohol use, the risk factor may be lessened or prevented. Remember that as adults with ADHD, alcohol use might relieve symptoms of ADHD momentarily but can cause much more problems in the future. ADHD symptoms can be managed well by getting relevant information and knowledge about ADHD, alcohol use, and drug abuse.

ADHD and Alcohol: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

1.  Can I drink alcohol if I am taking ADHD medication?

It is best to ask your mental health professional or clinical psychologist if you are allowed to consume alcohol. Knowing this would prevent you from complications that may arise if an ADHD medication and alcohol are taken at the same time. 

2. What should I do if I have both Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder?

Seek professional help immediately as it can be very dangerous to have both conditions untreated. There are treatments available for both conditions and with the right care, you can get better. 

3. What is the connection between ADHD and Alcohol Use Disorder?

It is not clear what exactly causes people who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to also have alcohol use disorder. It is possible that ADHD makes people more likely to drink alcohol and that alcohol may make ADHD symptoms worse. Or it could be that people with ADHD are more likely to self-medicate with alcohol to relieve their symptoms.

4. What are the consequences of having both conditions?

Having both Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder can lead to very serious problems such as substance abuse, addiction, job loss, financial problems, relationship difficulties, and health problems. It is important to seek treatment for both conditions if you have them. 

5. Is there any way I can prevent myself from developing Alcohol Use Disorder while having ADHD symptoms?

There is no sure way to prevent Alcohol Use Disorder while having ADHD symptoms. However, there are things you can do to lower your risk such as being aware of your triggers, avoiding situations where you are likely to drink, and seeking treatment for both conditions.

6. I think I might have both Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder. What should I do?

If you think you might have both Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder, the best thing to do is seek professional help. A mental health professional or clinical psychologist can diagnose and treat both conditions. 

Table of Contents

ADHD & Alcohol: Why You Might Struggle

1. Is Alcohol the Best Way to Get Rid of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

2. Alcoholism Might Affect Your ADHD Symptoms

3. What Happens After You've Had Too Much to Drink?

4. Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

5. Conclusion

ADHD & Alcohol FAQs

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. If you are experiencing symptoms of ADHD, it’s best to see a professional for a diagnosis.

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