ADHD and Conduct Disorder Tied to Increased Alcohol, Tobacco Use

the Psychiatry Advisor take:

Adoelscents with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or conduct disorder are at a significantly higher risk of using tobacco or alcohol.

William Brinkman, MD, a pediatrician at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, and colleagues examined data on more than 2500 teens between the ages of 12 and 15 taken from the 2000-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Teens diagnosed with ADHD or conduct disorder — the latter is marked by aggressive, destructive or deceitful behavior — were three to five times more likely to use alcohol or tobacco, and were likely to start using them at an earlier age compared with youth that didn’t have either disorder, the researchers reported in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

They also found that having ADHD alone was associated with an increased likelihood of tobacco use, but not alcohol use. And while teens that had a diagnosis of just conduct disorder did not have an increased likelihood of alcohol or tobacco use, every one symptom increase in symptoms of the disorder increased the odds of tobacco use by 31%.

“Adolescents who use substances before the mid-teen years are more likely to develop dependence on them than those who start later,” Brinkman said in a statement. “This is why prevention is so important.”

E-Cigarettes Tempt Young People to Smoke Tobacco Cigarettes
E-Cigarettes Tempt Young People to Smoke Tobacco Cigarettes

A new study links attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and conduct disorder in young adolescents with increased alcohol and tobacco use. The Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center study is among the first to assess such an association in this age group.

Teens with a diagnosis of ADHD and conduct disorder had a three- to five-times increased likelihood of using tobacco and alcohol and initiated use at a younger age than those who had neither disorder. Having ADHD alone was associated with an increased likelihood of tobacco use but not alcohol use.

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