ADHD and Addiction May Share Genetic Basis


He and his colleagues compared the prevalence of six risk genes in various populations: Patients with ADHD but not substance abuse; substance-abusing patients without ADHD; patients with both ADHD and addiction; and healthy controls. “Even in this limited study, we managed to find that specific genotypes increase the risk for ADHD only, while others convey an increased risk for the combination of ADHD and addiction,” Carpentier noted.

He added it is important for clinicians to keep in mind that both disorders run in families, are highly prevalent and frequently occur together, and that optimal results are obtained by simultaneously treating both disorders. Dunne hopes his and his colleagues’ findings will “increase awareness of the potential risk for earlier substance use among those with ADHD,” and he recommends that healthcare providers assess for risky behaviors in ADHD patients and make referrals to appropriate treatment. “In addition to medication, several psychotherapies and behavioral interventions have been effective in treating ADHD symptoms.”  


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