ADHD and Addictions

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Edited 3/25/18. Addiction and alcoholism among senior citizens is more common now than ever. Be sure to note the resources below.

Did you know that addictions are very common among people who have ADHD? It’s true.

It often comes from self medicating – an attempt to control your symptoms of ADHD or anxiety or depression.

Self medicating is not always a conscious act. Think about it – we have problems paying attention – so the beginnings of self medication can often go by unnoticed.

Addictions are not just limited to alcohol or drugs, either. Any addictive behavior qualifies.

This includes:

Over using over the counter medications, especially diet pills or allergy sinus medications.

Over eating.



Compulsive shopping.

Addictions to the internet, porn or sex.

The list goes on and on. Almost any compulsive behavior that makes you feel better (or used to) can be an addiction.

Do you see yourself in this? Or maybe your child or a loved one? The teen years are often a time when addictive behavior begins.

So what can you do?

Seek help. Lots of it.

Start with your ADHD. If you’re not on medication, try it. Talk to your doctor about your concerns, especially if you are on medication. Perhaps a change in meds will help.

Consider therapy. Therapy can helpful for ADHD as well as anxiety or depression. Both anxiety and depression often come along with ADD. This is also another place to consider medication. Something to control your depression or anxiety could be the key.

Finally, don’t be afraid to find a group meeting to attend, like AA or NA. Also consider rehab. Many insurance plans cover this.

Below is a list of some more common self help groups.

American Addiction Centers

Alcoholics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous

Overeaters Anonymous


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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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