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What treatment is available to someone with ADHD who develops an alcohol or substance abuse problem?

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It's important to remember that not everyone with ADHD will develop an alcohol or substance abuse problem. In adults who do develop a problem, doctors suggest treatment with non-stimulant medications, including guanfacine (Tenex, Intuniv), Clonidine (Kapvay), or atomoxetine (Strattera), and sometimes certain antidepressants such as desipramine (Norpramin) and bupropion (Wellbutrin).

From: ADHD and Substance Abuse WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: Molina, B. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, April 2007. Marshal, M. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 2007. Goldman, L. Journal of the American Medical Association, April 8, 1998. Biederman, J. American Journal of Psychiatry, published online, March 2008. Biederman, J. Pediatrics, August 1999. Volkow, N. Arch Gen Psychiatry, June 1995. Volkow, N. American Journal of Psychiatry, November 2003. Johann, M. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, October 2003. Greydanus, D. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder across the lifespan: the child, adolescent, and adult. Disease-a-Month, February 2007. Levin, F. Alcohol & Drug Abuse: practical guidelines for the treatment of substance abusers with adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Psychiatric Services, August 1999. Mannuzza, S. American Journal of Psychiatry, April 1, 2008, published online. 










Smith, B. National Institutes of Health, 2002.

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on May 20, 2018

SOURCES: Molina, B. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, April 2007. Marshal, M. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 2007. Goldman, L. Journal of the American Medical Association, April 8, 1998. Biederman, J. American Journal of Psychiatry, published online, March 2008. Biederman, J. Pediatrics, August 1999. Volkow, N. Arch Gen Psychiatry, June 1995. Volkow, N. American Journal of Psychiatry, November 2003. Johann, M. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, October 2003. Greydanus, D. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder across the lifespan: the child, adolescent, and adult. Disease-a-Month, February 2007. Levin, F. Alcohol & Drug Abuse: practical guidelines for the treatment of substance abusers with adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Psychiatric Services, August 1999. Mannuzza, S. American Journal of Psychiatry, April 1, 2008, published online. 










Smith, B. National Institutes of Health, 2002.

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on May 20, 2018

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Are Ritalin or other stimulants effective in someone with both ADHD and substance abuse problems?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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