ADHD and Conduct Disorder May Lead to Higher Teen Alcohol and Tobacco Use

Pharmacy Times, March 2015 Central Nervous System, Volume 81, Issue 3

ADHD and conduct disorder may be associated with increased alcohol and tobacco use in in young adolescents, a study indicates.

ADHD and conduct disorder (CD) may be associated with increased alcohol and tobacco use in in young adolescents, a study indicates. The study, published online December 10, 2014, in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, is the first to examine the connection between these conditions and alcohol and tobacco use in teenagers. The research team explored this potential association by analyzing data from the 2000-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on over 2500 adolescents between 12 and 15 years of age.

The researchers found that teenagers who had been diagnosed with both ADHD and CD were 3 to 5 times more likely to engage in tobacco and alcohol use than those who did not have either disorder, and tended to initiate use at a younger age. In addition, teenagers with ADHD alone were found to be more likely to use tobacco, but not alcohol, while teenagers with CD alone were not found to increase their likelihood of either tobacco or alcohol use. The research team also discovered that each inattention symptom increased the likelihood of tobacco and alcohol use 8% to 10% and each CD symptom increased the likelihood of tobacco use by 31%.

“Early onset of substance abuse is a significant public health concern,” said lead author William Brinkman, MD.